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Christian Music - Reviews, News, Interviews

Secret Place

  • reviewed by LaTonya Taylor Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2004 1 Jul
Secret Place
Sounds like … a blend of high-energy pop, ballad, and contemporary gospel from a promising group of cousinsAt a glance … Secret Place has a fair number of strong moments, but it also has its share of reworked or less original onesTrack ListingGoin' Up Yonder/Get ReadyI Give You My AllIntercessory PrayerDanceTake It By ForceSecret PlaceWorship MedleyJesus Loves Me MedleyGloryJustified

The Atlanta-based cousins who make up Generation J—sisters Leslie and Adrienne Hudson and brothers Aaron and Pierre Sanders—grew up singing together in church. After sharing the stage with top gospel artists such as CeCe Winans, Fred Hammond, Kim Burrell, and Mary Mary, Generation J (J for Justified) makes its national debut with Secret Place.

Their smart, easy vocal blend is intuitive and distinctive. Songs that feature this include the danceable-pop "Give You My All"; "Jesus Loves Me Medley," with vocal jazz flair; the R&B-pop of "Glory"; "Worship Medley"; "Take It By Force"; and the radio-ready title track. Each vocalist can hold his or her own on lead as well. The blend of sounds here also includes Latin, rap, and reggae. Generally speaking, the group handles the variety adequately.

The album is not without its ups and downs. One undeniable highlight is Generation Js high-energy, updated version of "Goin' Up Yonder," which starts the album. It would be pure folly to take on a classic like this—unless it comes out as well as this rap-and-reggae-accented version, which just has to have the Love Center Choir bobbing their heads. It's a bold move, executed well.

On the other hand, "Worship Medley," though sleek and slightly uptempo, is not significantly different from the version on Kurt Carr's Awesome Wonder—sans lead here—until almost seven minutes into the eight-minute track. It shows off the group's vocal chops, but could have done more. "Justified" feels a bit dated, and "Dance" doesn't break any new ground, lyrically or musically. The rap interludes are occasionally a bit corny. Still, this is an enjoyable album, and Generation J is a talented young group worth keeping an eye on.