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Monday, September 24, 2012

Matthew West - Into the Light

A couple of years ago now Matthew West sent out a request to his fans asking for their stories. He was blown away with the response that he got. There were so many letters and so many heart wrenching, honest stories. The Story of Your Life was the album from those letters. Many of the stories, well pretty much all of them, were stories that dealt with brokenness and the encouragement to the specific pain in life. The encouragement was almost on a survival basis in terms of counseling (I am no concealer but one who has experienced brokenness and the help from others.) It is the immediate response to the painful stories. 

In this new album, Into the Light, by Matthew West, he still uses the letters but there is a distinct change in the feel of the album. This is an album of encouragement of going beyond the survival stage of dealing and moving on toward the healthy living future. The song "Moved by Mercy" is such a song. It is the next song after The Story of Your Life's "Broken Girl." A song that characterizes the album as a whole is the song "Do Something." It is for the listener of these heart wrenching songs. It is a call to action. We can sit back and blame God or others for the pain of this world or we can recognize that God has given us gifts to be his instruments in the world and do something. We can guide people into the healing of the light of God.

"Forgiveness" is a song where a women chose to forgive the man who drunkenly murder her daughter with his car. The story is one of power and doing something showed the grace of God.


Monday, September 10, 2012

Review - Group 1 Crew's Fearless

Last fall Group1Crew had some changes within their group. Pablo left the group to spend more time with family. Manny and Blanca continued forward with their music fearlessly. Due to this personnel change Group 1 Crew’s music focused on Manny and Blanca’s strengths.  The song “He said” featuring Chris August is an excellent example. They are true to their hip hop beats while fusing with some contemporary melodies. I think that the fusion is a great idea that works. Fans of tobyMac will greatly enjoy this new Group 1 Crew sound. If you are a fan of their more hip hop dance songs, not to worry they still have some of those songs on this album too.

I have to admit that I am not a huge fan of a synthesizer. I agree that it is really fun to use, but I am in some ways really old school purist. That being said, the project has almost two different audiences in mind, the synthesized dance people and the hip hop fused contemporary songs people. You are never bored when listening to the project.

One recommendation the I have for you is when first listening to this new album approach it openly and enjoy the music as what it is and not compare it to how different they had sounded with Pablo. I did not do this the first time and I missed out on some really great new music. I did not make the same mistake twice. I really enjoyed the music the second time through. It is defiantly true when they say that different doesn’t mean less. They are still Group 1 Crew, but different.