Jon At the young age of 29, Indiana native Jon McLaughlin is already what some would call a veteran in the music industry. Not only has he released several highly acclaimed albums, but he's performed on the...
Samestate Often times the beauty of a record is found in its simplicity, and speaking in relative terms, this debut effort from alternative rockers Samestate embodies that idea. Perfectly-penned tracks take flight...
A Little Bit Longer
Jonas Brothers If you thought their last record was good...just wait til you hear this one. 12 tracks of amazing music. "BB Good" kicks the album off with a great rock song start with a rad guitar part, "Lovebug" is...
At the young age of 29, Indiana native Jon McLaughlin is already what some would call a veteran in the music industry. Not only has he released several highly acclaimed albums, but he's performed on the Academy Awards and has shared the stage with some of the world's most well-known and accomplished artist, including the likes of Adele and Kelly Clarkson. What McLaughlin is known for best, however, is his trademark voice and lyrics. Now, with a brand new label and a huge collaboration all in tow, Promising Promises looks to be his biggest and most anticipated record yet.
Incorporating revamped tracks from his 2011 independent release, Forever If Ever, along with new recordings, it's easy to tell right from the opening and title cut, "Promising Promises," that this album has hit a home run. The track, which highlights McLaughlin's frustration with his former label (Island Def Jam), features a minute-long piano solo that will blow you away and lyrics that embody his ingenuity when it comes to songwriting.
The album's first single, "Summer Is Over," which appeared on last year's release, is given new life with an added duet that features Sara Bareilles, whose success in recent years has been astronomical. An up-tempo, radio-friendly track, the addition of Bareilles seemingly creates somewhat of a masterpiece and by far one of the album's standout tracks. The collaborations don't end there, however. "Maybe It's Over," another highlight on the album, features Xenia Martinez, a finalist in the first season of NBC's The Voice. Xenia's voice is by far one of the most unique and distinguishable in the industry, and the blending of both hers and McLaughlin's is the perfect combination.
The album's overall standout, though, comes in ballad form. "I'll Follow You" not only is a genuinely beautiful piece of music, but the lyrics emphasize the commitment behind a loving relationship, which is a theme that is so often lost in the midst of songwriting.
If one thing is certain, Jon McLaughlin has certainly delivered once again. The one absence is the faith-themed lyrics that once seemed to dominate McLaughlin's writing. Make no mistake: there is absolutely nothing wrong with the lyrical content found here – in fact, it's brilliant. But the elements of Christ that seemed to be more dominant at one point seemed to have been put on the back burner, at least for now. Here's to hoping for a greater return of those themes on future projects. In the time being, I'll happily be keeping this record in regular rotation.
Align Yourself With Samestate | Posted March-19-2012 Often times the beauty of a record is found in its simplicity, and speaking in relative terms, this debut effort from alternative rockers Samestate embodies that idea. Perfectly-penned tracks take flight right from the beginning of the record and carry their way through all the way to the finale. If Samestate was unknown to you before, it’s time for that to change.
Opening cut “Realign”--where striking parallels between the voices of lead singer Dalton Diehl and NEEDTOBREATHE’s Bear Rinehart are extremely noticeable--echoes around the theme of encouragement that “Everything that dies will eventually beautifully return,” and a chorus with an undeniably catchy hook.
In fact, the entire album seems to take that tone. Standout track “Shadows” proclaims the simple yet profound message that “there is a God who is big enough to save us,” while “Hurricane,” which is currently seeing some pretty impressive radio airplay in various markets across the country, reminds us of the power of God’s presence in our lives.
“King” is by far another standout from The Alignment, and perhaps could become an anthem for those who have slipped in their faith and lost their way. Diehl charges through a powerful chorus which proclaims, “Come broken, come desperate and alone” and reassures the listener that “tonight you’re heard by the King.”
The album’s acoustic closer, however, is really what makes The Alignment a true gem. Not only are the acoustically-sustained melodies on “Symphonies” spot-on, but the lyrics are some of the most heavy, passionate, and well-written of any song from a Christian artist that I’ve heard in quite some time. With lines like “we are the forest in the midst of the fire” and “in the midst of the timpanis, we’ll play the strings,” the beautiful and completely genius simplicity of this record truly comes to life.
Closing Thoughts: What Samestate has managed to do is successfully make worship relevant. In a generation of Christian bands that seems to have shifted their focus on making it big in the mainstream, Samestate--whose roots lie in Kansas City--has decidedly stayed true to the profound passion that they so evidently have for their faith. Not only has Samestate crafted a record that is highly impressive for a debut, but they also have put out arguably one of the best releases of the year.
Best One Yet | Posted August-12-2008
If you thought their last record was good...just wait til you hear this one. 12 tracks of amazing music. "BB Good" kicks the album off with a great rock song start with a rad guitar part, "Lovebug" is remeniscint of music by the Beatles, "Video Girl" sings of the negativity of Hollywood and the closer "A Little Bit Longer," written by Nick about his diabetes is the perfect album closer that really sends a strong message.
That's just a little description above...to get the full impact, make sure you pick this up ASAP. It's the best the Jonas Brothers have ever sounded.
Running Back to You | Posted April-25-2008
Wow, I was blown away. One full spin on the record and I'm definitely a fan. This is something you won't want to pass up. Be sure to check out "Loaded Gun," "Empty Me," and "Vessel."