|Awakening | Posted May 30, 2011
Appearing to slowly supersede, it appears that pop music is making a comeback in the world of Christian music. Lacking the typical CCM feel and acoustic mellow driven appeal, it's a different shift and quite luring. That is in no sense degrading the typical scene, but point out a new direction that was in desperate need of more attention. The album "Black & White" storms in with the flourishing vocals and heavy pop alludes of Royal Tailor, a group composed of four young men: Tauren Wells (lead vocals) D.J. Cox (guitar), Blake Hubbard (bass guitar), and Jarrod Ingram (drums). The album is energetically layered with R&B, pop, and rock. The sound evokes somewhat hints of Justin Timberlake, Chris Brown, Maroon 5, and Bruno Mars, yet still maintaining a refreshing texture.
From beginning to end, each track is in no way a sleep drifter, but awakening. Lyrically the album discusses themes of identity, redemption, and growing in a sincere relationship with God. The first track, “Death of Me” initiates with thumping beats discussing the death of the old man and one being made fully alive and clothed in Christ. “Make a Move” calls the church to put “faith into action” and “do more than just believe”. In a much soother setting the third track “Freefall” discusses relying and finding security in God's arms whenever one is in the lowest of moments of life. The fourth track “Control” is probably the peak of the entire project, heavy electric dance pop sounds that are reminiscent of Justin Timberlake and with references to hits by Kanye West, Lady Gaga and Kate Perry, the band calls Christians to not allow popular culture to infiltrate and ultimately take control of them.
The next track “Gravity (Pulling Heaven Down)” comes in a much slower stance. Beautifully composed, the song reveals that behind our dark moments we have a refuge and are drawn closer to Him, finding beauty behind darkness. “Hold Me Together”, the album's first radio single, is a harmonic inviting tune for listeners as a cry out to God, recognizing our frailty and for Him to hold us completely safe.
“Wannabe” comes in a more static matter which discusses not allowing the world to tells us what and who to be and by finding the complete freedom in our identity in Christ.
Laden with fragments of groove and soul , the title track “Black and White” comes as a prayer to the Father crying for forgiveness, reminding one that there is no in between when it comes to our relationship with Christ. There is only black and white, hot and cold, and no lukewarm. “Run to Love” is a reminder that every individual carries loads and scars and that there is complete healing when running to God's open arms. The song is a voice to run to Him, despite whatever we've done and finding restoration. “Hope” and “Love Is Here” both bring about themes of hope and love being freely available to all.
Not necessarily a boy band, but drawing towards a strong mainstream sound appeal, this kind of music is undoubtedly needed in the CCM industry. The vocals are impeccable and the music catchy. I applaud all four band members for creating music that is relevant for a forgotten audience. As Tauren states, “This record is pressing against the flow of the mainstream market. We have nothing against mainstream artists, but some of the messages and values coming out of mainstream music today are poisoning the culture. We hope to be a remedy to that, to stand up against that and show people this is not normal. There's something greater for you than just partying. We hope to press back against that and create some awareness and awakening in our listeners.” That is exactly what the album creates: awareness and awakening among listeners. It is a fight for our young people to not get lost in a perverted and crooked generation, and a call to be a light and draw this generation to the arms of Christ.
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