Monday, May 21, 2012

Forever Jones - Musical Revival [Music Review]








Artist: Forever Jones
Album: Musical Revival
Album Length: 11 Tracks, 38 minutes, 21 seconds
Street Date: April 10, 2012
Label: EMI Gospel
iPod Pick: Being With You

If you thought ‘He Wants All’ was the best thing that could ever happen come from the Grammy nominated family band Forever Jones, you are most definitely wrong. In a world were artists are always termed not to really outdo their first work (since it more like it took them the most time to prepare for that one) Forever Jones offers an even more powerful and vibrant sophomore project. And honestly this one is on a whole new level leaving the gospel-negro spiritual style they are known for and edging out into a unique sound which is pop/hip-hop/Urban/RnB with a bit of edginess which some might term rock.
‘Hallelujah’ starts off the album with an intro that might get you (if you are a lady) doing the independent-lady salute (and if you are a guy) doing the dougie. It’s a very groovy tune but not has groovy has the party ready and power pumped ‘Musical Revival’ that might have you throwing a party at first listen. It sounds musically something mainstream artist Rihanna might record on an album. ‘Being With You’ is beautiful in its entirety, never heard anything like it before. The vocals are slurred and sung in ad-lib Adele (or say Musiq Soulchild) style. It would break through a dusty window in your heart like sunlight with causing any damage. It’s really that beautiful and it’s got a rap too somewhere in the middle. It’s embedded in a tune that kind of allows the throwback/snapback dance. ‘Hold Me Still’, ‘Every Moment’ (my personal favorite), ‘Just The Way’, ‘Rescue’ and ‘I See You’ are very intimate songs written in the first person God format ( like God is singing) and conversational prayer form. And they are all musically beautiful. And less I forget the wailing/chant vocal form on ‘Every Moment’ is hauntingly beautiful. I paused at the window on my first listen gazing beyond through the whole song as it played over my dock station in my living room.
‘You’re Welcome’ takes us back to church (in the usual Forever Jones’ style) and it’s excellently done, lyrically and musically too. ‘Most of All’ is a bold song on the very sensitive but yet culturally relevant issue of life purpose, funny enough it might just remind you of Natalie Grant singing one of her very ‘anthemic’ songs. The vocals on ‘I know Who I’m Living For’ would bring Mali Music to mind. What would it be like if Florida made music and Mali Music did vocals? Whatever answer you come up with is what this song might sound like to you.
This album is such a complete package that this review focuses more on the musical side of it. Lyrically this album is also packed and for a Gospel album it is far from the clich├ęd standard most have set. I must say this is the best record yet I have listened to this year. There’s something about this record that goes way beyond its mainstream sound. I believe it’s heavily anointed. This isn’t the Forever Jones you came to know on the debut ‘Get Ready’. ‘Musical Revival’ is a whole experience you do not want to not be a part of.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Steve Chalke - Change Agents: 25 Hard-Learned Lessons in The Art of Getting Things Done [Book Review]

One thing about business/leadership books is the tendency to catch the feeling you are not normal and you need to get frozen or more robotic in your living. Sometimes, they pass the general and untrue idea that a leader isn't an human being. In 'Change Agents: 25 hard-learned lessons in the art of getting things done', Steve Chalke breaks the mould by re-defining what a book on leadership should read like. Honestly, this is one is honest and true to the bone as Steve shares his victories and also failings. He shows us he isn't 'there yet' and he is doing great things (at his church.co.uk, waterloo), reminding us we don't have to have it all together before we lead and cause the change we long to see in our community.

Each chapter is apt and straight to the point, written in a memoir format as Steve shares real lessons learnt over time as a leader out there in the field.

- under promise and over deliver
- others only see your mountaintop experiences
- the journey with others is slower than the journey alone but worth it

These and many more are packed within the 120 page print book from Zondervan. Tired of the old? Want something real and relatable? Want the next level in your innovative and leadership skills? You've got to get Steve Chalke's small book 'Change Agents' , it's a great work on the art of leadership.

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