STYLE: Gospel RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 159353-23870 LABEL: Fo Yo Soul 439073 FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1 RELEASE DATE: 2015-11-27 RRP: £12.99
Reviewed by Tony Cummings
I can't say I was keen on the spoken word intro. But just about everything else from the gospel star's latest hit album shows that Mr Franklin's battle with insecurity, which kept him from releasing a new album for four years, has ended in triumph. Kirk said in an interview "To be transparent, that's what I wanted and that's why it took so long to do the album. A lot of it was fear and then I really began to learn that spiritually fear is a form of pride. It was pride that I would never be able to live up to 'I Smile'." Now the 45-year-old has released this dazzling album which is primarily an exhortation to go beyond the religiosity and rule-keeping of much churchgoing and instead enter into a loving relationship with our Heavenly Father. There are some top rate songs here which convey just that, none more so than "Pray For Me" which challenges our tendency when approached by someone who confesses sin to respond with the judgmentalism of the Pharisee rather than the loving kindness of our Savior. "Miracles" is about recognising that the miraculous is part of the believer's everyday life while "Road Trip" speaks about the destiny God has planned for each of us. Halfway through the album, the master songwriter/producer begins to deal with the low points of everyday life putting on subjects like unpaid bills and problem neighbours. Standouts include the Cross Rhythms radio hit "Wanna Be Happy" and "It's Time" (featuring Tasha Page-Lockhart and Zacardi Cortez), which makes some telling points. The third part of the album turns to worship and intercession. "When" has some deeply soulful vocals from that supreme jazz gospel diva Kim Burrell with sterling help from Lalah Hathaway while "My World Needs You" has some powerhouse vocals from Sarah Reeves, Tasha Cobbs and Tamela Mann. The production as usual is top rate, once more showing Kirk's impressive ability to fuse traditional and urban gospel music elements. All in all, a great comeback.
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On his 11th album, Kirk Franklin once again establishes himself as the frontrunner in Gospel music. The 13-song project explores timely themes and classic sentiments, while offering renewed testimony to Kirk's status as a GRAMMY-winning songwriter and producer.
Kirk collaborates with a wide array of music luminaries, including stellar performances from Kim Burrell, Lalah Hathaway, Tamela Mann, Tasha Cobbs, Sarah Reeves, Zacardi Cortez, and Tasha Page-Lockhart.