Saturday, January 30, 2010
Artist – Plumb
Album – Beautiful History: A Hits Collection
Label – Curb
Street Date – November 3, 2009.
Album Length – 20 Tracks. 1 Hour, 32 Minutes, 33 Seconds.
Genre – Pop/Electronica /Rock
IPod Pick – Stranded (2010)
Achievements - The first single off Beautiful History, "Hang On" reached number one in US Billboard Hot Dance Cub Play in 2009 and additionally became the first single of 2010 to reach the top spot in Billboard's Hot Dance Airplay chart.
Maybe what catches me about Plumb is her life journey that everyone can relate to. In early 2000's, Plumb almost gave up recording and doing music when she got a note from a young female fan before her supposed last concert saying that Plumb’s music had really influenced her life and really helped her through a very hard time. That in itself was a miracle. It made Tiffany Arkbuckle lee (a.k.a. Plumb) to embrace her career once again and start over again.
Plumb has a way of writing lyrics that reflects that we live in a world of people not just a ‘me, myself and I’ world. Her lyrics would start you thinking in a new direction. ‘Real’ a song inspired by the controversy caused by Jennifer Lopez’s low Versace gown which she wore to the 2000 Grammys, would help you see the lifestyle of the Rich and the famous in a new perspective. ‘Stranded’ is that Love song that sings silently in the heart of every lovebird in love but not wanting to make the first approach. The harmonies and guitars of the Plumb’s 2010 recording of this hit would make you fall in love with it in a new way. ‘God Shaped Hole ’, famous for its appearance on the soundtrack list of blockbuster movie ‘Bruce Almighty’ also has a new recording on this hit collection. ‘There’s a God shaped hole in all of us and the restless soul is searching’, Plumb sings anew on this recording. Two brand new song appear on this project (‘Hang on’ and ‘Beautiful History’). Trust me, its vintage Plumb style.
The other half of this album is filled with new remixes. You would love them and if you are the dancing type, it’s all the way. Plumb who is known for ambient sounds of the likes of Enya,Amy lee of Evanessence, Lara Landon, Dido and generation next diva, Leona Lewis is back with freshly recorded old tunes with some brand new stuff alongside. The thing about hit collections are that they could be monotonous and give you the ‘headache’ of having multiple tracks of the same title in your library but Plumb breaks that jinx beautifully with a ‘beautiful history’. For new fans of Plumb, ‘Beautiful History’ is a must have. For old fans it’s indeed a beautiful history and you don’t want to miss out on this.
Friday, January 29, 2010
Artist - Tammy Trent
Album – Stronger
Street Date – July 29, 2008.
Label – September Day Records
Album Length – 11 Tracks, 45 Minutes 12 Seconds.
Genre - Pop
IPod Pick – Rain On Me
The thing about Tammy’s new collection of songs is that it’s just so sincere and tangible. Praise oriented albums are known for clichéd forms over used words which are use to describe our heavenly king, and you begin to wonder ‘ I thought they always said God was indescribable and there weren’t enough words to qualify who he is’, but sorry Tammy breaks the procedure on this new effort.
The praise and worship tracks (‘Rain on me’, ‘Humbled’, ‘Edge of the water’) plays like Tammy on her knees offering heartfelt and realistic prayers to our God in heaven. She also gives us a beautiful cover of ‘Somehow you are’ (already done by Avalon on their ‘Stand’ album).
Tammy tells a friend on ‘Beautiful’ that she’s one of a kind and a shinning star. ‘Shine’ is a mellow upbeat track that calls out to believers to be a light where ever there are.
Apart from this album being upbeat all through, Tammy’s beautiful and strong voice with which she declares the power of God would definitely sweep you off your feet.
Miss Trent who lost her husband in a Scuba diving accident on September 11 2001 is back to tell us how she’s grown ‘stronger’ over the years. With this effort you definitely will be convinced she’s made it through the storm stronger.
Monday, January 18, 2010
Album- City On Our Knees (Single)
Street date- November 17, 2009
Album length- 4 tracks. 27 Minutes 32 seconds.
Genre- Urban/ Pop/Hip Pop
IPod pick- City on our knees
Tobymac’s new album comes forth February 9 but a little foretaste isn’t a bad idea at all and that’s what this single offers us.
All in all, the single album contains two remixes (‘Boomin remix’ and ’lose my soul remix’) of songs featured on earlier project ‘Portable Sounds’. It also has a 15 minutes interview with the main man, no one other than Toby himself. The interview gives us a peak into the making of the record and a snippet of a song from the full album (‘Tonight’). ‘Boomin remix’ features Diverse city’s own Shonlock who gives a rap interlude on it.
The Center point of this single is ‘City on our knees’. This radio ready vibe would amaze you with the new direction Toby’s music has taken. ‘Tonight Tonight’s the night’ Toby sings ’for the sinners and the saints/ two worlds collide in a beautiful display/It’s all love tonight/ when we step across the line/ we can sail across the sea/to a city with one king’. The song is a call for a reviving revolution; a call for all to come as one and acknowledge the King of the earth. I can boldly assure you, its Tobymac’s most contemplative song till date.
The thing about foretastes are that they leave you longing for the main dish. This has done the same and the good thing is that it promises a beautiful surprise in the box on February 9 for us. Can’t wait? Then City on our Knees single is indeed worth jiving to in the time being.
ARTIST- JONNY DIAZ
MUSIC VIDEO- MORE BEAUTIFUL YOU
LENGTH- 3 minutes,41 seconds.
And here is our first music video! It’s spanking new! It’s by former indie artist Jonny Diaz whose musical styling follows the likes of Bebo Norman, Jason Mraz, Jon foreman, David barnes, Brandon heath and John Mayer. Wow! So many? I know. Jonny Diaz is a fusion these and music more. His latest album from INO hit the stores in May 2009 ( A review coming your way soon). Without much ado, I present to you a ‘More beautiful you’.
Sunday, January 17, 2010
Artist- Mary Mary
Album- The sound
Label- Columbia Records
Street date- October 21, 2008.
Album length- 12 tracks. 44.9 minutes.
Genre- Urban/R n B/Gospel
Ipod Pick- Seattle
Producer- Warryn Campbell
Welcome ‘The Sound’,Mary Mary’s fifth studio project (counting a former Christmas release), or rather should I say Mary Mary’s first radio station. The relevant and innovative record is styled like a play-list hour on a radio station and I tell you that’s way so cool.
The coolest thing about this effort is these God driven ladies being able to deliver a press play album (you won’t be reaching for your skip button anywhere on this album, no exaggerations, I mean it) that is soaked with words of hope and faith with beats to soothe the fans of artist like T-pain and Ludacris.
The album starts off with a spoken word intro done by Deborah Joy Imani Winans which flows into the 80’s styled ‘The Sound’. ‘Get Up’ would get you up your seat doing all dance and break moves you have learnt your entire life. All time sweet heart Kierra Kiki Sheard is feautured on the club ready ‘God in me’ which is soon to become your next ringtone once you’ve heard it. Mainstream rapper David Banner appears on ‘Superfriend’ telling us how God never left him lonely in lonely times. Worshipful and ‘beaty’ moments are not left out on tracks like ‘Forgiven me’ (soon to be your all time favorite), ‘I’m running’, ‘Seattle’, ‘I worship you’. The later (‘Seattle’) is co-written with former Winans phase 2 members Juan Winans and Marvin Winans.
From the Pop driven ‘ dirt’ to the Hands raised ‘Seattle’, The Sound is filled with infectious, radio ready, epic songs that would be heard generations to come and no doubt it not a waste of precious time, it’s THE SOUND! Listen to the sound.
Author- Angela Hunt
Title- The Justice
Genre- Fiction/ Contemporary/Political/Legal/Thriller
Street date- January, 2002.
Achievements- Winner of the Silver Medallion in ForeWord Magazine's Book of the Year Award.
The year 2009 American elections almost saw a ray of something that has never occurred before, a woman ruling the free world. What if a woman was the ruler of the free world? What if? Would she try to beat the men who have gone by at their game. Would she have more fiends than friends? Or would she as a ruler let her emotions rule her? Hillary Clinton almost answered these questions in 2009 but was certainly not given the chance to. A few years before then Angela Hunt answered these rather speculative questions in edge of the sit legal thriller, John Grisham styled, ‘The Justice’.
The novel starts off with the death of the present American president (President Parker) and his vice (Daryn Austin) instantly sworn in. The story basically revolves around Daryn Austin daughter of former Georgia governor, who is driven by her father’s approval amongst many other things to be the most powerful woman in the United States. Daryn later learns as the story unfolds where true power lies.
One strong point of this work of fiction is the realness of the characters. Unlike most books, the characters are not portrayed as entirely good or bad. They are painted as real people. Another one is the rich information delivered in the pages of this novel. It should be noted that the set for the novel is the white house and the Capitol Hill. Hunt shows us well that she’s done her home work by detailing the modus operandi of the American government.
The central theme of the story is found in proverbs 17:1 which tells us that the kings heart in the hands of God and like streams of water he turns it anyway he pleases. If above asking ‘what would it be like to have a female American president’ you are asking ‘How does God work out great good out of great wickedness’ then the next time you visit the bookstore, you should be picking up ‘The Justice’. But never say I didn’t warn you, you might find yourself dreaming about life in the white house for months’.
Saturday, January 16, 2010
Artist – Group 1 Crew
Album- Ordinary Dreamers
Label- Fervent records
Street date- September 18, 2008.
Album length- 14 tracks. 53.2 minutes
Genre-Rap/Urban/Pop/R n B/Hip hop
IPod pick- Change
Don’t let the hip hop rap fool you, Blanca, Pablo and Manwell have something to deliver beyond the good beats and the fast said lyrics. They can rap as well as sing so well.
This album ranges from jazz (‘I see you’) to pop( ‘change’) to rock (‘keys to the kingdom’ and ‘closer’) where Blanca’s vocals are reminiscent of Amy lee of Evanessence. Any kanye west fan would be swept away by the musical style of ‘living the life’. Fans of Outkast and Wyclef jean wouldn’t be left out on tracks like ‘tonight’ and ‘live out loud’. Fans of Fergie and the black eyed peas would embrace the amazing ‘Gimme that funk’.
What really matters here is that Group 1 crew has a message and they don’t even try to sacrifice it for good beats. The album is full of the Gospel and still as ‘beaty’ as ever. It’s a double giveaway and even after the last notes fades, their message of hope and sanctification would still linger on our hearts. Good one from these guys who know how to groove in holiness!
Genre- Urban / Rap/ R n B
IPod pick- Take You Away
Big girl B.O.U.Q.U.I is back, this time with something big and better. One of the reasons why I admire B.O.U.Q.U.I so much is because of her display of a sound theology in her music with the groovy beats and the rhymes still not lacking. On her new album she gives us an expose rap on Romans 7 on ‘Oluwa feat. Cobhams’. You would be moved by this young lady’s honesty about the struggles of life on this track.
The album opens with an intro which is titled ‘Core mission’ calling out soldiers for Christ. This is followed by the grooviest song about heaven I have ever heard ‘take you away’ where B.O.U.Q.U.I encourages a friend singing ‘and to everybody going astray, put your hands in mine and let me take you away’. The song is followed by the popular first single from the album ‘Mo’rile’. ‘Luv u 4eva’ is a song that would have you dancing as soon as it starts featuring Mike Aremu on the Sax. It’s a song that talks about marriage in the light of God’s word and it also suggests that this lady rapper would be visiting the church altar soon. B.O.U.Q.U.I gives us the shock on the skit called ‘condescending skit’ where she is skipping through the radio in a car and exclaims ‘who on earth is making sense’ and later tells us she is not condescending to the general nonsense. The skit is a must listen as B.O.U.Q.U.I comes out boldly to tell us that she’s not out there to sing the normal trash that we have plenty of already.
‘Redefinition’ is not just your normal 16 tracked Cd of ‘general nonsense’. LOL. B.O.U.Q.U.I proves that by giving us more than good beats to groove to but also words of wisdom that would linger on long after the music stops. Go B.O.U.Q.U.I. You rock!
Album- No looking back
Street date- July 22, 2008
Album length- 14 tracks. 57 minutes.
Genre- Urban/R n B/Reggae/Pop
IPod Pick- Best thing
Meet Damita. Youth pastor at the Without walls church, Tampa, Florida (Pastor Paula white’s church) and wife of all time gospel sweetheart Deitrick haddon. With her second release after eight years of long wait from her fans she establishes herself as a gospel diva.
The album opens with a groovy tune that would get you off your seat dancing (‘plain and simple’). Damita tells us her strong voice can do all things by doing the reggae hit (‘Best thing’). The album goes soft but still with beats that would steal your heart away on ‘Midnite’. The worshipful ‘I will trust’ is a proclamation of faith in Christ and his faithfulness. Radio ready ‘No looking back’ is that song you wouldn’t mind listening to on a drive in the car. Damita goes ‘political’ on ‘pray’ encouraging the people to pray to God so He can heal the land.
Eight years is a long time and surely Damita doesn’t disappoint us after this long wait with fresh messages from the heart of God. Fans of Beyonce need not look further, Damita is the real thing!
Artist - Britt Nicole
Album- The Lost Get Found
Label- Sparrow records
Album length- 11 tracks. 38.4 minutes.
Genre- Electronic Pop/ Pop
IPod Pick- Hanging On
A number of times we forget what we’ve been called for in God’s vineyard as Christians. That’s the message that was so heavy on Britt’s mind while recording the first single from this album. ‘don’t be afraid to stand out. . . that’s how the lost get found’ she sings on the title track. Britt has a way of combining sweet melodies with messages from the heart of God without sounding too corny. On her latest release (lost get found) she does that and more, this time no rock but pop.
She reminds us of the surety of God’s word on ‘hanging on’ and also the providence and faithfulness of our heavenly father on ‘have your way’. She also sings to a lonely friend ‘every time you feel alone put on your headphones . . . on’ headphones’. ‘Walk on water’ is a song that encourages us to take hold of the provision we have in Christ to overcome our struggles. ‘Feel the light’ would soon be that cool song you long to listen every now and then, an all time favorite.
One thing is sure , there is no dull moment on this 30 something minute Cd. if you have a flair for the breathy vocals of Britney spears and the head nodding beat of Lady Gaga, a better option with a message of hope and salvation is Britt’s latest, The lost get found.
Artist- Jason Allen Rich
Album- A Beautiful Life
Street date- April 07, 2009.
Album length- 6 tracks. 22.7 minutes.
Genre- Pop rock /Worship
IPod Pick- Taste and see
Season 7 American idols' contestant, Jason rich, doesn’t just have a knack to produce strong and firm vocals of the likes of David Cook and Jeremy camp but also knows how to lead us into the courts of God in worshipful moments.
This 6 tracked EP is a must listen. With songs declaring gratitude and praise to our God ( ‘a million angels’ and ‘ lamb of glory’ ) and songs reaffirming the faithfulness of our God(‘taste and see’) reminding us he will never leave or forsake us and that he has gone to prepare a place for us beyond(‘Take us away’). For soft rock lovers and worship moments that would take you away Jason allen rich’s debut is the beautiful option.
Artist- Jade Harrell
Album- Class Reject
Label- Revolution art
Street date- June 02, 2009.
Album length- 13 tracks. 39.9 Minutes.
Genre- R n B/Hip hop/Dancehall/Rock/Pop
IPod pick- Me and My Radio
The church choir all over the world has been known to produce great vocalist (Brandy Norwood, Whitney Houston, Corrine Bailey Rae, Jessica Simpson) that have made an impact on mainstream music over the years. Choir divas are known for something in common, a strong and passionate voice and a high display of their knowledge of music in their work. New comer Jade Harrell, who was ‘hijacked’ after the members of G.R.I.T.S (Coffee and Bonafide) discovered her talent while singing in her home church some years back, doesn’t fail to deliver that and more.
‘I see the world as a big class room’ says 19 years old Jade. ‘and because I am a Christian, as well as a strong advocate for abstinence until marriage, I’m automatically rejected by most of the world. That’s not how the world does it’. One thing that stands this album out are the electrifying beats. Radio ready tracks (‘into the music’ , ‘addicted’, and ‘me and my radio’) would get you on your feet with enough grooves to make you sweat. ‘Beaty’ Worship moments (‘king of my heart’) aren’t left out. The album features rich alto vocalist Ayiesha woods on the Kylie Minogue styled ‘who you are’. You wouldn’t know when you would start your break dance on this track. And finally, the album shocker is the retro styled ‘don’t leave’. Which would make you double check your music player to make sure you haven’t mistakenly switched to a radio station in the 80’s. Jade delivers classic Motown style on this track.
After all ‘class reject’ wouldn’t be rejected by music lovers who are fascinated by good beats and a message that lingers on long after you’ve pressed the stop button. Jade Harrell has come to stay and would be around for a very long time. Be rest assured about that!
Artist- Jaci Velasquez
Album- Love out Loud
Label- Apostrophe records
Release date- March 18, 2008.
Album length- 11 tracks. 37.9 Minutes.
Genre- Pop Latino
IPod Pick- A likely story
All time favorite Jaci comes back after a failed marriage, parent divorce and hollywood indulgence to tell a story of God’s restoration and finding strength to break through the night. This time her story shaped into the lyrics of this album would move you into a deeper relationship with our God and surely set you on fire for Him.
The theme of the album is unconditional love. Giving love to people (‘love out loud’), sticking with relationships even when it seems not to be our fault (‘it’s not you, it’s me’). Worship moments are not left out with songs like ‘my alleluia(when words fail)’ and ‘Jesus (the way)’. The height of the album is a Cinderella story song written for Jaci’s new husband (Nicolas Gonzalez of Salvador). Jaci tells us in the foot note of the album how she felt so undeserving of his love. The song also relates to how we are so undeserving of God’s love yet he fails not to lavish it on us. You would hear Jaci’s new hubby singing along on the latino track titled ‘por escrito’.
All in all, jaci’s new album is a bold declaration of how imperfect people are perfected in God’s love and that’s why it will be staying in our Cd tray for a long time.
Street date- March 18, 2008
Album length- 10 tracks. 39.5 Minutes
Genre- Power pop/rock
IPod pick- Hope now
The definition of good music is in it being able translate you from one state(emotionally, mentally, spiritually etc) to a better state with safe landing. Addison road debut does this so well. Avoiding cliché pitfalls most Christian albums are used to. Trust me you wouldn’t be hearing your normal lyrics this times. After six years of recording independently, this soft rockers land a recording deal with INO (tree 63, mercy me, The fray). Six years is a long time coming and the members of this group have a story to tell about their walk with God and how the mighty savior has showed up in various ways on life’s journey. With Jenny Simmons on lead vocals, Addison road delivers their lessons learnt on love, life, self esteem, heaven, Modern culture and God with beautiful music on their debut.
‘this could be our day’ is a catchy beat that would get you moving along from the intro. The song is a reminder that we are ambassadors in this world and that we are here to cause a change and not just waste every passing minute. ‘Start over again’ follows in the same vein encouraging us that every moment is a second chance to start all over again. ‘Casualties’ is a bold anthem against materialism. ’Always love’ and ‘sticking with you’ are a healing balm to any relationship. In the latter, the vocalist tells a friend ‘Even if you try and shut me out. I’m staying here cause that’s what love’s about . . . I might let you down but I won’t let you go‘. ‘What do I know of Holy’ would get you on your knees before the last line. ’hope now’ is that song you want to hear when things aren’t going your way and even when they are. The lyrics are striking ‘I’m not my own I’ve been carried by you all my life’. All in all, Addison road’s debut is a joy ride to behold. These Texan rockers know how to carry us on a jolly ride with safe landing. I bet you don’t want to miss out. Why don’t you get on the road with Addison road!
Author- Ted Dekker
Genre- Fiction/Suspence/ Thriller
Publisher- Thomas Nelson
Street Date- September 2, 2008.
I wouldn’t say this is my best Dekker novel ever, neither would I say it’s my worst but I would just place it on its own pedestal of uniqueness. Till date I would say ‘Sinner’ is Ted’s most proclamative novel. It combines good allegory (the usual Dekker style) with real life events. For instance, we read of characters being born again. The book starts off with a prologue followed by a chapter zero (now that’s very unique cause I haven’t seen any novel in my reading years having a chapter zero!). It starts with Marsuvees black (you know him if you’ve read ‘Saint’ and ‘Showdown’) finding a letter from David Abraham actually addressed to one of the survivors of Project Showdown, Johnny Drake to be précised.
The whole story unfolds around the two characters who Survived Project Showdown (Darcy and Billy), how they reunite, their fight against the evil around them and how they find the light. Like you would guess, there’s never a dull moment with Ted Dekker who knows how to portray a good story with the actions of a blockbuster movie. Be rest assured, no long prose. Fast and interesting conversation between various characters would keep you turning pages and by the time you finish or rather before the last page, the theme of the novel (which has to do with religious freedom) would get you on your knees praying for the divine intervention on behalf of God’s people (Christians).
With the styling of Dean Koontz and the fast paced action of Sidney Sheldon, Sinner delivers the gospel of Christ like you’ve never heard it before, a gospel of love yet hated by many. Beware! The sinner might just be right beside you.
Artist- Darwin Hobbs
Street date- August 26, 2008.
Album length- 12 tracks. 58.4 Minutes
Genre- Gospel RnB/Praise and Worship
IPod pick- The Name of the LORD
Church music has had its share of revolution over the years with the influence of various music genre. This is a good thing especially for our generation, easily attracted by good beats in a song and considering lyrics second. Darwin Hobbs( popularly known for his hit ‘ We worship you today’) doesn’t fail to deliver good church music that would grab your attention (with the vocals similar to that of Luther Vandross) at first listen leaving you to consider the lyrics at second listen.
The album centers lyrically on the album title. Yes, freedom is the central theme. Getting help to be free from sin(‘Heal the land’), Genuine repentance (‘I repent’), the reality of freedom from sin (‘free’), staying free ('crosswalk’) and worship and adoration to the God who has made us free (‘the name of the LORD’,’I praise you’, and ‘sacrifice of praise’) are various topics explored lyrically in this album. The album borrows a closer from the Deitrick Haddon’s album 'worship together' on which Darwin himself features on (He’s able) reminding us all that that which God has begun in us he is faithful and able to complete it. Hobbs latest release is a powerful declaration of the Freedom we have in Christ. I assure you ‘Free’ wouldn’t be leaving your music players for a long time.
Artist- Francesca Battistelli
Album- My paper heart
Label- Fervent Records
Album length- 11 tracks. 38 minutes.
Genre- Jazz/ pop/ rock
IPod pick- It’s your Life
Teen pop is usually known for fantasy lyrics and catchy beats that remind you of your days in nursery class. The Disney kids are here and there always having something to say about high school, teenage love affairs, first kiss and first dates. You just name it. They never fail to deliver the usual. Welcome twenty years old Francesca , who doesn’t fail to deliver the unusual. Daughter of two New York theater film makers and also a skilled pianist and guitarist as well, Francesca knows how to get the music going.
Her debut is a fusion of a wide genre of music ranging from Jazz(‘ I’m letting go) to Gospel soul (‘blue sky’) to pop( ‘free to be me’) to Praise and worship(‘Forever love’) to rock (‘it’s your life’) to ballad(‘time in between’ and ‘behind the scenes’). One thing is sure, this young woman of God knows her music and she knows it well. The whole album reflects Battistelli’s strong relationship with our heavenly father and is covered with lyrics that would draw your heart closer to Him.
Are you star struck with the likes of ‘High school musicals’ or the husky vocals of Miley cyrus or Vanessa Hudgens but still want something refreshing and deeper still? Miss Battistelli is your best bet!
Album- The winner in me
Street date- July 14, 2009.
Album length- 12 Tracks. 57.4 minutes.
Genre- RnB / Pop.
IPod pick- Make a way.
The year 1990 saw the birth of soul R n B trio, SWV (Sisters with voices). The platinum recording group hit the chart then with a duet with late music veteran Michael Jackson. SWV parted ways in 1998 after 6 top selling albums. Now comes (should we say) new comer or old timer lead singer of SWV Coko , who is back to deliver more in the power of the gospel.
The album starts with a funk/rap rocky anthem ‘make a way’ declaring that God is able to make a way even when there seems to be no way (featuring Gospel rapper Canton Jones). ‘Rescue me’ could be titled the ‘drive’ song of the album, that cool rhythmic track that would put you in the good mood for a walk or a long drive. Coko goes straight back to church on the title track ‘winner in me’ testifying that Jesus is the one who has made all these come to pass and that He is sure the winner in her. ’joy of the lord’ is that song you wouldn’t mind grooving to at your next birthday party. ‘ I surrender’ and ‘renew my mind’ are smooth (let’s say) ballads that would put you in the mood for worship.
All round and round, if you are fans of strong and breathy vocals of the likes of mainstream’s Rihanna, Keisha Cole and Keri Hilson, you would soon be switching places cause Coko has come to stay this time.