History Makers: Greatest Hits (Delirious.org.uk)
Last modified: 30 Oct 2009
Author: Dave Wood
Date: 30 Oct 2009
There's a time and a place for Greatest Hits albums. These days it's all too common for a group to release three albums over perhaps four years together, and then decide the time is right for a Greatest Hits. To me, that's just exploitation. Delirious, on the other hand, have more than 17 years of history, spanning eight studio albums (depending on how you count!) and have reached the end of their musical journey. To me, that seems like a justifiable time to release a Greatest Hits. Some people will probably still say, "I've got all their albums, why should I buy a Greatest Hits?", and that's fair enough, the album probably isn't aimed at you. But with a 17 year career behind them, many of Delirious' fans weren't even born when the band's early albums were released. So it's not unreasonable to expect that more recent fans might be interested in the ultimate representation of the band's back catalogue.
And that is what it is. With more than 120 songs to their name, narrowing the selection down to fit on one album was never going to be easy, and no doubt hardened fans will feel there are still some must-have songs missing. But Delirious have made a gallant effort at putting together the best they have to offer on 'History Makers - The Greatest Hits'. In fact, for those not content with condensing an entire career into a single 14 track album, Delirious offer you the alternative of a limited edition version, with 31 songs spread over two discs. As if that wasn't enough, they also throw in a DVD containing all 13 of their promo videos, and a 50+page booklet.
If you choose the standard version, the 14 songs you get are the more commonly recognised worship songs the band have become known for. The early 'Cutting Edge' days are heavily represented by the likes of I Could Sing Of Your Love Forever, Shout To The North, Did You Feel The Mountains Tremble and Lord You Have My Heart, all songs that have become popular with church congregations around the world. You also get absolute classics like History Maker, Deeper, My Glorious and Obsession. Then there are the more recent, yet equally stunning and worshipful tracks such as Majesty, My Soul Sings and Our God Reigns. It's amazing to think that one band produced so many of these incredible and intense worship classics. As a standalone album, it is pretty unbeatable.
Until you come to the Limited Edition version that is. Then you really get an album that represents everything Delirious ever stood for. You have the contemporary examples of worship already mentioned, and then you have the cross over tracks. Songs that sat equally comfortably in the mainstream world as they did in the Christian world. Bliss, Heaven, Solid Rock, Take Me Away, they're all songs that any rock band in the secular world would have been proud of. Powerful ballads like Its OK, There Is An Angel, Every Little Thing and Stronger make an appearance alongside crowd pleasing anthems like God Is Smiling, Inside Outside and Paint The Town Red.
Watching the DVD that comes with the Limited Edition version is like watching a band evolving and establishing itself. You also get to see Martin's hair style gradually changing through various cycles of the 'rock star' look! From the early, low budget days of Deeper performed on the roof of a city office block and the dangling light bulb performance of Promise, to the slick and glitzy feel of Gravity, the rawness of Its OK and the fun of Waiting For The Summer. It's a fascinating piece of visual history for the band. There is also a 4 minute bonus feature called 'History in the making' which takes you behind the scenes of the aforementioned video shoots. The Limited Edition version also comes with a fantastic book filled with glossy photos and artwork from the archives and a potted history of the band.
This Greatest Hits album is simply incredible. Summing up a career as eventful and twist laden as Delirious' is never going to be straight forward. But listen to this collection of songs and you begin to get a feel for the impact Delirious have had on the world of Christian music. The standard they set, the challenges they laid out, the rules they rewrote and perhaps most telling of all, the colossal void they leave behind them.