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Perfect Day

  • reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2005 1 Sep
Perfect Day
Sounds like … familiar adult contemporary and inspirational pop that recalls 4Him, Warren Barfield, and early Steven Curtis Chapman, to name a fewAt a glance … despite Bates's talents and passion for the Lord, there's simply not enough of him on this dull and predictable debut to distinguish his abilities from countless other similar sounding artistsTrack ListingPerfect DayLessKing Of GloryShineNever Give Up On MeThere Is None Like YouWalking Through The FireYou Say ComeAliveProdigal

Most of the buzz surrounding Perfect Day comes from the fact that 23-year-old Josh Bates is the second artist signed to Beach Street Records, home to runaway success story Casting Crowns. Actually, this pastor's kid from Kentucky auditioned for label founder and producer Mark Miller (Sawyer Brown) seven years ago, impressing him with his vocal and instrumental prowess—Bates plays mandolin, guitar, and piano. Now that he's honed his skills under Miller's guidance, the hope is this young singer/songwriter can find success similar to his label mate.

The problem is, those skills just aren't on full display here. Bates has a fine voice, similar to Andy Chrisman (4Him), but his mandolin and guitar skills are used on few tracks, and he co-wrote only half of the songs. The album's first single is the title track, a derivative Christian pop song about anticipating the Lord's return that's too similar to so many others, failing to offer new insight. But like Casting Crowns, listeners may be impressed with its production, beefed up by a healthy dose of electric guitar.

And that sums up the remainder: predictable songwriting and a routine Southern AC sound, boosted by Miller's skills behind-the-scenes. There are requisite worship songs like "King of Glory" and "There Is None Like You," not to be confused with better worship songs by Third Day and Lenny LeBlanc, as well as commonplace ballads like "Never Give Up on Me" and "Prodigal." It's a safe, unadventurous Nashville-pop album that could be anyone's debut—hundreds of independent artists have made projects similar to this, albeit slightly less produced. Bates is sweet natured, talented, and loves the Lord with a passion, but those qualities aren't enough to distinguish him. The songs on Perfect Day may reflect the beliefs of his heart, but they don't give the listener a clearer picture of who he is or what he's capable of.

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