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The Book of David: Vol. 1 The Transition

  • reviewed by Andree Farias Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2006 1 Sep
The Book of David: Vol. 1 The Transition
Sounds like … contemporary R&B in the vein of Babyface, Tyrese, Ginuwine, Avant, Carl Thomas, and Mario WinansAt a glance … the most "secular" album ever to hail from a gospel label, Transition is also one of the purest straight-R&B efforts Christian music has seenTrack Listing The Preface Nothing but God The Intro Help Me So Many Scars Questions Pray (Til I Get an Answer) Drama Divorced The Settlement My Pain What Do You Do Where R U? / Answer Me Reach Out to Me I Let Heaven Down The Morning After The Potter I've Changed No One Take Me Back The Closing

If you follow contemporary R&B closely, chances are you've heard of Dave Hollister. The crooner first made a name for himself as founding member of '90s urban group Blackstreet, which he left shortly after to concentrate on a solo career. As a loner, he released four albums—three on DreamWorks, one on Motown—and tasted some success, but eventually became burned out by the workings of the business. Fame and fortune left him, and so did his wife, whom he divorced after she committed adultery.

Once he hit rock bottom, Hollister had a re-encounter with God, moved from L.A. to Chicago, and reconnected with his church roots. There, he started to envision what would become The Book of David: Vol. 1 The Transition, Hollister's full-fledged debut for a gospel label. Yet a gospel album this is not. Like his previous output, Transition consists of straight-up contemporary R&B—a mixture of slow and mid-tempo jams that are mostly reflective in nature.

But the R&B aspect extends to the album's subject matter as well. As a new Christian, he had a lot of things to share about his rocky road to redemption, and he spares no detail on the album, talking about his relationship to his estranged wife ("Divorce"), his big day in court ("The Settlement"), and the closure his newfound faith brings him ("What Do You Do"). Despite this conviction, Hollister still admits to wrongdoing ("I Let Heaven Down") and falls flat on his face in repentance ("The Morning After").

All of this sounds revolutionary coming from a gospel artist, but I doubt Hollister is making a case for duality here. If anything, he's simply being truthful about where he stands in his walk with God. Transition doesn't pretend to offer all the answers—and as an R&B record, it doesn't push that many buttons, either—but it does prove that urban gospel can sing God's praises without putting up a front about the human condition.

© Andree Farias, subject to licensing agreement with Christianity Today International. All rights reserved. Click for reprint information.