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Wright or Wrong, These Songs Are Paul's

  • reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2007 1 Mar
Wright or Wrong, These Songs Are Paul's
Sounds like … acoustic pop and hip-hop with flashes of jazz and funk, combining the styles of Jack Johnson, Shawn McDonald, Sugar Ray, and the lighter side of tobyMac.At a glance … it's not that Paul Wright doesn't have a good sound or enjoyable songs, but this collection of rarities from previously released EPs sound like lesser versions of what he's done before.Track Listing Saturday
My Everything
Hold Me (acoustic)
Me and Your Momma
Sky Falling Down (acoustic)
Shooting Star (acoustic)
My Cards (acoustic)
There She Goes

Paul Wright emerged on the music scene with his blend of rap and acoustic pop in 2003, back when "hip-pop" was freshly hip. Fly Away established him as Christian music's answer to Jack Johnson, and Sunrise to Sunset was as fine a summer album as Sugar Ray. While finishing work on his next album proper, Wright made two EPs of unreleased tracks available in 2006 exclusively through iTunes: The Best Songs You Never Heard and Midnight Sonnet. Those two projects now combine for the single disc Wright or Wrong, These Songs Are Paul's.

Well, there's no mistaking that these songs are by Wright, and that's partly what's wrong. Between the one about the broken home (enjoyably jazzy "Me and Your Momma"), several tracks about romantic pining ("There She Goes" and "My Cards," are but two examples), and the recurring puns on his last name, it seems like we've heard it all before on his previous releases. Is there nothing more?

It wouldn't hurt to offer more depth either. "Saturday" is fun with its old-school funk groove, but it's all too brief and little more than a cliché—"Movin' to the DJ's rhythm … keep on groovin'." While "Shooting Star" and "Sky Falling Down" are enjoyable acoustic love songs, "Radio" in contrast feels like a shallow response to a girl's shallowness. And though there's something engaging to the simplistic repetition of "Hold Me," its worshipfulness is also simply repetitive.

Listening to similarly styled artists like Shawn McDonald and Mat Kearney, you can hear clear growth in writing and artistry over their releases. Wright sounds like he's spinning his wheels here, but in fairness this is more a collection of bonus tracks and demos than a fully formed effort—the sort of thing you buy exclusively through fan clubs, not the disc to best assess someone. In that light, Wright or Wrong isn't good or bad, but more an appetizer to tide people over until his next full album.

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