"!Hero" - Music Review
- Chris Well
- 2003 15 Oct
Label: Meaux Music
“Imagine.” That was how many of Jesus’ examples of the Kingdom of God began. “Imagine that the Kingdom of God is a farm.” Or, “Imagine that the Kingdom of God is like a flock of sheep.” Why? Because, of course, Jesus was expressing Kingdom truths to an audience comprised primarily of farmers and shepherds.
In that spirit, the ambitious rock musical "!Hero" digs down to the core elements of the Gospels and speaks in the language of an audience raised on MTV and AOL, suggesting, “Imagine that Jesus came to Earth today.” The multimedia event — a rock opera, stage tour, novel series, audio books and comics — forms a harrowing picture of a bleak world where Jesus is showing up for the first time.
With an all-star cast — including dc talk’s Michael Tait as the could-be Messiah !Hero, Rebecca St. James as the rescued-from-the-streets “Maggie” and Audio Adrenaline’s Mark Stuart as the acts-before-he-thinks “Petrov” — the double-disc CD is chock-full of music and drama.
There’s the funky “Wedding Celebration,” complete with a dramatic aside about Jesus’ first recorded miracle. There’s the gangsta-edged “Raised in Harlem,” with “Jairus” (rapper T-Bone) as the desperate father hoping !Hero can save his dying daughter. “Leave Here,” a post-”It’s a Hard-Knock Life” romp, finds the street urchins casting doubts on !Hero and Maggie. And the electrifying rocker “Not in Our House” reinvents the familiar “Jesus-and-the-money-changers” scene quite plausibly as a rumble between !Hero and the “Chief Rabbi” (John Cooper of Skillet).
Sure, those who get "!Hero" hoping for a collection of pop singles will be disappointed. And, as a musical, the CD is (presumably) an incomplete work if you don’t get to see a live performance — true of nearly any musical.
But, overall, "!Hero" is inventive, rhythmic and should, no doubt, spark debate everywhere about the real Jesus. These timeless truths are as valuable now as they were to that audience of farmers and shepherds back in the day.
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