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Christian Music - Reviews, News, Interviews

The Good Life

  • reviewed by LaTonya Taylor Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2003 1 Oct
The Good Life
Sounds like … urban-flavored gospel for fans of high-impact choirs like Kirk Franklin and the FamilyAt a glance … with a nice blend of edgy numbers, relaxed ballads and mid-tempo tunes, this album showcases a softer side of SOPTrack ListingIntroGood LifeFreeConquerorsThere's No HatredWhen You Need a Friend3:16 InterludeMidtro (Interlude)PeoplePut Joy BackSOP PartyPeace & TranquilityLiquid PrayerHealing and Rest

In this follow-up to their Stellar-nominated Gospo Centric debut, Girl Director, the 30-member Sounds of Praise Chorale (SOP) and leader Natalie Wilson demonstrate why they've been recognized as one of the most polished choirs on the national scene. Note to trivia buffs: SOP is where Faith Evans—yup, that Faith Evans—honed her skills.

Mellower than Girl Director, The Good Life maintains its urban-gospel edginess. A shorthand comparison here is to Kirk Franklin's work circa God's Property and Nu Nation—they share that leader-fronted style—but a closer listen reveals that Wilson's arrangements have a more choral feel and more use of vocal dynamics to create drama.

Album highlights include the title track, a bouncy, head-bobbable number that showcases the group's rich harmonies. "Free" features a fun balance between hip organ and live-sounding horns with smart, full-bodied vocals. Wilson's interpretation of the Andraé Crouch classic "There's No Hatred" is rich, fulsome and dramatic. With James Moore's restrained lead vocal (which sounds strikingly like Crouch himself), this song alone makes the trip to the record store worth it.

Other notable tracks include the funky groove "People," "Peace and Tranquility," a reflective number about God's healing in the aftermath of broken relationships; and "Liquid Prayer," which showcases Wilson's agile lead vocal in a song dedicated to people struggling with depression.