STYLE: Gospel RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 175490-28493 LABEL: Fo Yo Soul FORMAT: CD Album RELEASE DATE: 2019-05-31
Reviewed by Lins Honeyman
Multi Grammy-winning gospel artist, producer and songwriter Kirk Franklin's latest follows on the back of the album's lead single "Love Theory", which reached number one on the Billboard Hot Gospel Songs chart. No stranger to such success, this is an understandably confident affair from Franklin and one that finds him pushing the boat out artistically and stylistically. For instance, there's a delightful abstract nature to some of the tracks - none more so than in the memorable "Spiritual" which begins with a killer funk bass line before morphing into some sort of boom bap Dixieland jazz hybrid near the end. Elsewhere, "Just For Me" utilises weird vocal effects to spice things up whilst "Forever/Beautiful Grace" changes direction several times in a way that ensures that this album is never treadmill. Thematically, Franklin taps into the issues of the day with the likes of "Strong God" touching on terrorism, racism, climate change and lying governments whilst the tender closing track "Wynter's Promise" is a tentative song of combined doubt and hope in God which makes up for the somewhat blasé "OK" where the presumably very wealthy Franklin seems to suggest that it doesn't matter if you only have a few dollars to your name in a way that feels almost as insensitive as, say, a former millionaire Beatle asking everyone to imagine no possessions. As you would expect from a producer of Franklin's standing, this is an incredibly slick affair but hats off to the team of female singers who carry this release amidst their boss's occasional hype man-like hollers, chuckles and hallelujahs.
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