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Christian Music - Reviews, News, Interviews

We Praise You

  • reviewed by Andree Farias Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2007 1 Mar
We Praise You
Sounds like … contemporary gospel of the highest order, recalling Donnie McClurkin of course, as well as Donald Lawrence, Byron Cage, The Singletons, and others.At a glance … after a long hiatus, The McClurkin Project keeps it all in the family and scores a strong, energetic follow-up.Track Listing We Praise You
We Praise You (reprise)
You Are an Awesome God
As Long As There's You
I Need You Here
If You're Ever Feeling Lonely
Touch Me
You'll Be Fine
I Am Your Servant Lord
His Mercy
Precious Lord
In the News Today
Song of Gratitude

Donnie McClurkin is trying to pull a Jay-Z on all of us. Never mind that they're both New Yorkers. Like the famed rapper, the gospel megastar made a high-profile announcement to retire from music, only to remain busy nonstop. Since the news broke, McClurkin has appeared on a number of albums by other artists, hitting the road with CeCe Winans for a high-profile concert tour, and now presents the second effort from The McClurkin Project, a family side project that's been a long time coming.

Not that we're complaining. Anything McClurkin touches is more an event than a siple recording, and We Praise You is no different. Recorded live at Greater Allen AME Cathedral in Queens, NY, the album right out of the gate is a far cry from the group's self-titled 1999 debut. While that effort consisted of '90s-inspired contemporary R&B with small doses of gospel, We Praise You makes a full transition to worshipful contemporary gospel.

The change couldn't have been more welcome—from the opening strains of the rousing title track all the way to the exhortative "If You're Ever Feeling Lonely," We Praise You is a slick, near-perfect display of how to do contemporary gospel right. Vocally, all the siblings are in top form, blending seamlessly. None of them (Donnie McClurkin included) dominates the spotlight more than the rest. It really is a family affair.

Once We Praise You reaches its midpoint, the atmosphere turns peaceful and reflective, only to be interrupted by the pseudo-reggae of "His Mercy" and a hyped-up version of the Thomas Dorsey classic "Precious Lord." Those are passable compared to the Broadway-styled "In the News Today," a track about the end times that really has no business here. Despite those few misfires, We Praise You pushes all the right buttons to become one of the better gospel discs of 2007.

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