Review Date: 06/23/14
Review By: Jessica Morris
Release Date: 06/23/14
Rating: [usr 7.5]

Following on from his success on American Idol, Danny Gokey steps into the music industry with his faith-inspired pop album, ‘Hope In Front Of Me’ (BMG New York). Proving he can stand his own ground amid peers like Colton Dixon, the powerful vocalist delivers a solid and encouraging album in this highly anticipated release.

Opening with the title track “Hope in Front of Me,” listeners will be drawn immediately to the strong conviction within Gokey’s vocals. Mixing piano with a strong drum beat, his sincerity and tenderness cloak the track and shine effortlessly to deliver a message of hope in the midst of trials. Gokey’s ability to straddle the line between broad emotions is a highlight throughout the album, and his strong delivery defines him as a unique artist among so many other successful reality TV stars. “More Than You Think I Am” continues this introspective vulnerability, a distinctive keyboard rift popping up throughout the song and turning into a whistle as it progresses. In an authentic and brave move, this track challenges the listener’s notion of Jesus with lyrics like, “Rumour has it there is a gavel in my hand.” There are elements within this that are reminiscent of Matthew West’s storytelling quality, and Gokey’s vocals soar as he shares a message about who God is as he calls for believers to shed the religiosity and lies we have been told about Christ.

The ballad “Tell Your Heart to Beat Again” begins in a more stripped back format, and the addition of strings then strengthens the song and works to enforce the importance of choosing to change our circumstances. The minimal instrumentation accentuates the light and shade of the musician’s voice, showing that the real hero of this debut is Gokey’s often flawless vocal performance. “Better than Gold” sees Gokey branch out with a techno and 70’s sounding keyboard, and the following track “One Life” carries on this alteration in genre. While the delivery of these songs is impeccable, the sharp change in genre can seem a little disjointed. “This is What it Means” sees a return to the piano driven vibe of the earlier tracks, and the lyrical content makes it clear that the vision for this album is an intent to change our perception of Christianity- this is chronicled as Gokey shares that life must be lived “From both sides” of positive and negative experiences.

“Love Will Take You Places” enforces this uncompromising message, with Gokey speaking of mercy, sacrifice, hope and change as integral to a display of real love. The message of this song mixed with such beautiful vocals makes it a stand out track and listeners will be left with goosebumps as he boldly declares “Take me further, take me higher.” “Take It To The Limit” brings back a techno flavour and the following “Pretty Beautiful” will be another fan favourite as Gokey conveys a love song in a delightful and refreshing manner as he sings, “Like the frost in the morning or the midnight rain, you’re the love I want to fall down on me.” Finishing with “Because of You” we hear Gokey backed by an acoustic guitar before the album concludes with the gospel inspired “It’s Not Over.”

A solid effort, Gokey’s vocals soar as he makes his mark on the music scene with the release of Hope in Front of Me. Be inspired by his bold message of truth and grab your copy today.

 

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