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Let Love Win

  • reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2007 1 May
Let Love Win
Sounds like … classically influenced vocal pop that closely resembles Josh Groban and Travis Cottrell, with similarities to the inspirational adult contemporary of Chris Eaton, Steve Green, and David Phelps.At a glance … Daniel Kirkley's debut somewhat goes through the motions by sticking to the same style throughout, but his voice and sound are still strong enough for fans of Josh Groban and Christian vocal pop to get excited about.Track Listing My New Dawn
Let Love Win
Lay It Down
Make It Beautiful
Everyday People
A Sacred Moment
Come (A World That Waits)
For the Life of Me
All Things

Remember back in the day when Christian pop was rife with outstanding male vocalists—larger than life voices like Steve Green, Michael English, and Clay Crosse? You'd think the scene would be teeming with artists raised in the church vying to compete with Josh Groban and the runaway success of American Idol.

A couple years behind as usual, Christian pop is slowly again making headway in the vocal pop genre. The latest example is Daniel Kirkley, who was a double major in pre-med and classical voice before dropping pediatric plans to pursue a calling in music—surely there's a career utilizing both fields! A couple of independent albums later, the South Carolina native found a home with Centricity.

With production evenly split between Matt Bronleewe (Michael W. Smith) and Mark Hammond (Nichole Nordeman), Let Love Win features Kirkley's beautiful tenor soaring over glossy strings, keyboards, and pop ballad production. And it certainly helps that most of his songs are penned by acclaimed Christian pop veterans. Recurring themes include making a fresh start (radio single "My New Dawn," Chris Eaton's "Lay It Down") and living to love others better (Cindy Morgan's gentle "Come (A World That Waits)", as well as Nichole Nordeman's prayerful title track). Others sure to become favorites include "A Sacred Moment," in which Kirkley tenderly prays to keep his romantic feelings for a potential love interest under control, and the quietly worshipful "All Things."

Though his voice isn't quite as strong as Groban's, Kirkley can definitely sing. Perhaps the better comparison is 2006's Found by worship leader Travis Cottrell. That album was more inventive, mixing classical and worship elements with the pop. Let Love Win goes through the vocal pop motions and sticks to the same sound for most of the tracks, but it benefits from considerably stronger production values. Next time it would be nice if Kirkley broadened his range, but Let Love Win is primarily meant as an introduction—enough to satisfy fans of Groban and Christian vocal pop.

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