Saturday, November 10, 2012

Tamela Mann – Best Days [Music Review]

Artist: Tamela Mann
Album: Best Days
Label: TillyMann
iPod Pick: Back In The Day Praise

First this, I was so excited to hear Tamela Mann ( who has showed up in movies such as ‘Madea Goes to Jail’ and ‘Meet The Browns’) would be staring as Sarah Waters in the new movie ‘Sparkle’ ( also starring CeeLo Green and Jordin Sparks) dedicated to tell the Whitney Houston’s story. That said she’s also got a new album titled ‘Best Days’ and these days really seem to be becoming the best in her career with the launch of a new show ‘Hanging With The Manns’.

The album starts off with the bouncy ‘Best Days’ which follows in the choir styled vocals of artists like Karen Clark Sheard, Crystal Aikin and Cece Winans but still fresh and innovative in sound. The intro of ‘I’ll Hold On’ is captivating as Tamela’s soothing voice sails in. The surprising part is how the chorus of the very same song morphs into a rock tune. Though beautiful and reflective, it’s one of those songs that you would mutter to yourself after a first listen how it kind of almost landed the greatest hits line. It’s hard to figure out why this song (‘I’ll Hold On’) might not just land on the greatest hit list (yeah, one of those songs that would be sung for a long time and remembered as one of the best from Tamela) cause it’s a great song in its self but I think its sweet melodies refuse to rise above the repetitive, leaving it ‘drabby’ in the long run.

Other highlights include ‘Take Me to the King’ (produced by Kirk Franklin), worshipful and reflective in its own right, though you don’t have to be told before you would know Kirk crafted this one. ‘Lord We Are Waiting’, ‘All to Thee’ and ‘Rain’ gives us more worshipful moments on the album. On ‘This Place’ Mrs. Mann starts off with an endearing story of God’s help and grace, it’s a great morning song and the backup choir’s harmony impeccable. ‘Back In The Day Praise’ is that song you want to turn up the volume in your car and risk throwing up your hands in the air while driving (Please do not try that, even if you get to feel this song. You would though but I repeat DO NOT try that still. LOL). The Album rounds off with ‘Hymns: The Blood Medley’ on which Tamela takes us right back to old school church and of course with an old school styled organ play.
In a recent interview I read, when asked which one artist would she like to collaborate with, Mrs. Mann mentioned Celine Dion and I was like ‘sweet!’ That really speaks towards the type of innovation and creativity Mrs. Mann plans to bring to the table in the future. Honestly, this is one of the ‘fun’ and ‘a little bit’ out of the box Gospel album I have heard this year ( that is if I am terming J Moss and Forever Jones’ new ones as RnB/Pop) but still I would say it sometimes as the disc spins sounds like something we’ve heard before, In fact lyrics clich├ęd sometimes. Some things I’m sure of, and one is, for music to last a long time on our iPods, the lyrics must tell an original story or an old story in a new way, telling it with heart and passion and for the sound , it sure must not remind us of something already on our iPods. For Tamela Mann’s new record, we will spinning some songs for a long time ( ‘This Place’ ‘I’ll Hold On’ and ‘Back In The Day Praise’) but I believe there’s more to come.

To the artist (Mrs. Mann) keep the good work up, you’ve got a great voice! And to the fans, looking for some fresh gospel? This is worth the buy, trust me.

[Review Originally Penned  For and Featured Courtesy of]

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Max Lucado - Wild Grace [Book Review]

Wild Grace is an adaptation for teens of Max Lucado’s new book titled Grace: More Than We Deserve, Greater Than We Imagine. And the unsaid thing about most adaptations is usually how they could be watered down but half –way through wild grace, I was wondering why Max Lucado didn’t set it out as a whole new project cause though targeted towards teens, it’s a book I think everyone should read.

One of the outstanding things about this book is its practicality. For a topic like grace, you expect to hear lots of theological terms and references that might make you grasp for the next bible dictionary but Wild Grace is simple but yet deep. Please when planning to read make sure your highlighter is at hand.

In Wild Grace, Max in his usual Story telling style explains how God’s grace flows into everyday life, how it affects decisions, how it changes life and how tangible it is. He even takes it a step further to answer tough questions not just teens but everyone faces about salvation whether it’s eternal or not. Another amazing part of this book is the real life stories of well-known Christians imbibed in the book. This would sure be an encouragement and a reminder of how God’s grace comes through to teenagers.

I really think more books should be written like Wild Grace and one thing that really stands out with this one is that it is so real and practical. It meets you at the junction of everyday life. Isn’t that how books are meant to be?


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