Now Is the Time
- reviewed by Andree Farias Copyright Christianity Today International
- 2005 1 Mar
- Mighty Long Way
- Gonna Lift Your Name
- Now That I'm Free
- Jesus Is Lord
- Eternal Life
- Gotta Move
- Trust in You
- Now Is the Time
- The Great I Am
- You Are
- Gonna Lift Your Name (Remix)
Nobody thought gospel/pop duo Anointed capable of a successful return after losing several original members. Though they grew in popularity all the way through their groundbreaking self-titled 1999 release, the ensemble kept shrinking with each new album. When If We Pray hit store shelves in 2001, the once-blooming foursome had now been reduced to a duo—a dynamic that Anointed never got to explore because that album marked the end of their tenure with then-home Word Records.
Almost four years later, the one-two punch of Steve Crawford and Da'Dra Crawford-Greathouse are back with
The record starts strong with "Mighty Long Way," a rhythmic party starter deftly produced by Warryn "Baby Dubb" Campbell, better known as longtime collaborator with gospel megastars Mary Mary. As a matter of fact, one can easily picture Mary Mary singing the infectious hook in the chorus, a quality also prevalent in ultra-catchy "Gotta Move," another Campbell production that seems custom-made for club airplay. A bit more conventional is "Trust in You," a Mark Heimermann-helmed joint that starts off as an aggressive funk fiesta, but which later devolves into a poppy declaration of faith.
As for old complaints that Anointed tended to sound more like a CCM group than a gospel one—i.e., sounding more like Avalon knockoffs than soulful R&B proponents—
This brings us to the album's most noticeable misstep—an overabundance of ballads. Of the eleven tracks, a whopping five are either slow or midtempo. All of them fall into one of the styles Anointed loves to flirt with. Brother Crawford gets to let loose on the waltz-like "Now That I'm Free," a powerful gospel number with live instrumentation. The title track is an exceedingly formulaic AC/pop song where the duo again sounds like Avalon. And the remaining three ("Eternal Life," "The Great I Am," "You Are") are all indistinct power ballads that sound more like potential, obligatory radio singles than exciting identity marks.
That's the biggest shortcoming of the pleasing yet decidedly unfocused