STYLE: Gospel RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 173635-27665 LABEL: Capitol FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1
Reviewed by Lins Honeyman
There are a number of reasons why Grammy-nominated singer Tori Kelly's latest album recently set the record for the most first-week streams achieved by a gospel album and entered the Billboard Top Gospel Albums chart at number one. Firstly, the project has been produced and largely written by gospel luminary Kirk Franklin who, with his decades of experience, brings a polish, pizazz and power to proceedings like no other in his field can. Secondly, as evidenced from the arresting overture on the dance/soul opener "Masterpiece" to the very last note on the gorgeous a cappella track "Soul's Anthem", Kelly has a simply stunning voice that takes Franklin's songs and turns them into her own with a performance that is believable, supremely adept and completely unique to the extent that the California-born singer's failure to go beyond the top 24 in season nine of American Idol now seems incredulous. Thirdly, Kelly has chosen to collaborate with guest artists on half of the eight tracks on offer which adds the icing on the cake (and cleverly gains wider exposure) on some already great songs. For instance, Lecrae raps in the middle of the aforementioned "Masterpiece" whilst vocal group the Hamiltones back Kelly up on the blues-tinged "Help Us To Love" - a heartfelt call for people to love each other as God loves us. Elsewhere, Franklin himself pops up on "Never Alone" and the slick jazz exposition "Just As Sure" finds Jonathan McReynolds to be the perfect duet partner for the star attraction. In an incredibly diverse outing, it's perhaps in the quieter moments where Kelly shines the most with "Psalm 42" and the breathtaking tearjerker "Questions" - the latter dealing with the thorny issue of still having faith even if a healing never comes - being reason enough to seek out this exemplary release.
The opinions expressed in this article are
not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed
views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may
not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a
Interested in reviewing music? Find out