- reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
- 2005 1 Jan
- Gentle Revolution
- Take Me to the Place
- I Am Jesus
- Something Different
- In the Name of God
- Alive Again
- Shadow on the Sun
- Last Will and Testament
As a music critic, my favorite reviews are those for albums that surpass expectations. Just when you think you have some artists pegged, they come up with something that puts a big grin of surprise on your face.
Scott Krippayne has done just that with
The change is evident from the start with the title track, a buoyant and thumping mix of pop and rock that evokes Ben Folds, Gavin DeGraw, and Tears for Fears. There's great interplay between the piano, guitars, and rhythm section, creating dynamic changes between the verses, chorus, and bridge. Listen to how "Take Me to the Place" begins as more of the usual Christian pop, only to evolve into an infectious funk rock groove reminiscent of Maroon 5's "Harder to Breathe." Touches like that keep the song interesting and fun. "I Am Jesus" has the same heavy electric guitar punch of Chapman's recent albums, and here again we can't help but wonder how routine this song might have sounded otherwise. Mixing dance, rock, and funk, the appropriately named "Something Different" is a bit like Sting's "Desert Rose," offering progressive production that saves it from becoming a predictable pop arrangement from Avalon.
With this superior breadth of pop/rock, Krippayne again proves that he could teach a Songwriting 101 class. He's not necessarily one of the greatest songwriters of his time, but he possesses a good understanding of what makes a successful pop song and how to make a lyric his own. He describes this as his most honest album yet, and that's certainly clear in a few tracks. The piano ballad "In the Name of God" is a challenging look at how so many have misused their beliefs to justify frivolity (sports, awards shows) and evil (terrorism, war). The charming "Renée" is written for actress Renée Zellweger, whom Krippayne once caught sight of in a Starbucks. Though written directly to her, exploring the life of a celebrity and whether or not she searches for something deeper in life, it also allows us to consider what's most important to us, and is a superior song on that subject as a result.
Elsewhere, Krippayne tackles the familiar subject of showing love to "the least of these" with stronger conviction than usual in "I Am Jesus." The title track is a reference to the transforming power of Christ's love. "Alive Again" is a simply worded expression of spiritual renewal, co-written with similar pop-piano tunesmith Mark Schultz. And the closing "Last Will and Testament" is deceptively somber in tone, when in actuality it's a gentle inspiration about dying to one's self to live for God.