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Christian Music - Reviews, News, Interviews

A Messenger Has Staying Power

  • Ed Cardinal Contributing Writer
  • 2013 18 Mar
<i>A Messenger</i> Has Staying Power

Artist: Colton Dixon
Title: A Messenger
Label: 19 Recordings/Sparrow Records

Spiky-haired singer Colton Dixon may have placed seventh on last season’s American Idol, but he sure sounds like a winner here on his debut album, A Messenger. An outspoken Christian currently on tour with Third Day, he’s doing great with faith-based and mainstream audiences alike and could very well have more staying power than some of the previous Idol champions.

A Messenger is a built-to-last rock set at heart that still manages to fit within the pop culture that made it happen. Show opener “Noise” rides in on a wave of cacophony before quieting down to deliver a perfectly pointed first line about seeking God’s voice: Every day is a car alarm that I don’t know how to disarm / Where is the silence, that simple silence?

Poppy punk that feels like The Fray jamming with Jimmy Eat World, “I’ll Be the Light” adds Colton’s piano playing to the mix in a catchy fist-pumper that wouldn’t sound out of place at the dramatic peak of a teen angst movie.

Impressively, A Messenger can already boast two hits that have reached No. 1 on the iTunes Christian Songs chart. “You Are” is a seamless marriage of rock and worship, while the soaring “Never Gone” reflects a strong Switchfoot influence both sonically and vocally, although Dixon comes across as a bit more sugary in general. The latter’s clear message—Jesus never ever left you / He sees us, even in the darkness—is an exciting one to be born of prime time television.

Colton Dixon also has a theatrical flair at times. The fan-inspired “Scars” is especially intense, a slow burning cut that brings to mind acts like Alice in Chains and Muse. “In and Out of Time” is equally interesting in its rock structure and melodic ambitions. But not every number is a winner; “This Is Who I Am” may be earnest, but the declarative anthem approach is somewhat cliché. That’s to be expected on post-Idol debuts—things are so fast-tracked and thus often half-cooked.

Ultimately, A Messenger is on message. Closing ballad “Let Them See You” asks: Does the man I am today say the words You need to say? He’s certainly beginning to do that. With potential that’s comparable to, say, Jeremy Camp, look for Colton Dixon to become a familiar name on the Christian music charts.

*This Article First Published 3/18/2013