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Drive It Home

  • reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2008 1 Apr
Drive It Home
Sounds like … Nouveaux's former lead singer delivering melodic AC pop reminiscent of Brian Littrell, Rush of Fools, and ChasenAt a glance … in spite of the thoughtful lyrics and pleasant melodies, Drive It Home is ultimately too homogenous sounding, and fails to measure up to Paul Alan's days with Nouveaux, his previous solo outing, or his full potential as a pop artistTrack Listing Wreckage To Bring You Back Come to Jesus Drive It Home Canyon Bethlehem Scars Another Silent Night When the Sun Goes Down Find Our Way

It's been so long since we last heard from Paul Alan that I doubt many of today's generation of Christian music fans recognize his name. Those that grew up listening to '90s Christian pop will remember the band Nouveaux, which made waves with their acoustic pop album … And This Is How I Feel and its true-love-waits hit single "Maybe Tomorrow." Unfortunately, that 1996 sophomore effort proved Nouveaux's last, but Alan eventually released a solo project in 2001 called Falling Awake, which yielded the catchy hit "She's the Reason." His considerable gifts as a pop artist have kept some fans (including myself) hopeful for a follow-up, even if Drive It Home doesn't quite live up to a nearly seven year wait.

Alan has always been good at crafting solid Christian lyrics without resorting to overly religious clichés. The title track is a smartly worded song about the simplicity of redemption through surrendering to Jesus, and "Scars" is a thoughtful expression of never being too far from God's grace, while "Canyon" is Alan's poetic love letter to his wife, the river that carves through the cold mountain of his heart. There are some clever lyrical twists to "Bethlehem" and "Another Silent Night" as well—neither is really about Christmas, but rather evocative and evangelistic pleas for the lost to be found. However, some of the other songs are more straightforward in their wording, particularly "Come to Jesus," a ballad for the broken strongly reminiscent of Third Day's "Cry Out to Jesus" and Rush of Fool's "Undo."

The singer/songwriter has previously demonstrated a knack for catchy melodies in his short-but-not-short career. But longtime collaborator Brian Hardin and indie producer Jason Collum fail to challenge Alan to stretch his sound, resulting in too many songs that sound similar to each other. The hook-filled AC pop has become more tepid and generic by comparison, and whereas Alan once had the potential to become the next Michael W. Smith, this sounds more like Brian Littrell's solo album. Drive It Home is certainly not unpleasant to listen to, but it doesn't live up to Alan's full potential or past glories either.

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