Review Date: 03/21/2014
Review By: Jessica Morris
Release Date: 3/18/2014
Rating: [usr 8]
Following the release of Shonlock’s debut album, NEVERODDOREVEN in 2011, expectations were paramount with the release of A Night To Remember (Arrow Records). The Grammy nominated singer/songwriter/producer/MC known for working with everyone from Arrested Development to Nicole C Mullen and Toby Mac , delivers his sophomore album as a testament to his fluidity amongst many genres, high quality production and willingness to tackle Biblical topics in a new and refreshing way.
Opening with “A Night To Remember,” Shonlock gives listeners a taste of the groove that will transcend the entire album. A mix of dance and synth beats, the artist calls upon his years of experience in the mainstream industry, delivering a high energy tune embedded with uplifting lyrics where he sings “You take me higher, it feels like it’s only us.” The opening track will please old and new fans alike, the generic nature of the lyrics allowing Shonlock to cross the border between the secular and Christian markets while retaining his integrity and quality of musicianship. The chorus includes the addition of a choir, introducing an element of soul into the track and pin pointing the album’s overall focus on eternity.
Following on with “Heartbreak,” Shonlock begins his ascent into a boiling pot of genres, the electro beat and snare mixed with his strong falsetto and later a rap highlighting the singer’s strength in many styles. While lyrics like “bang, bang boomerang” can seem quite generic and cliché, the overall message of humanity’s constant struggle with God makes it an interesting and heartfelt track.
“Transformed” continues with the electro/dance vibe of the previous tracks; however the use of a voice synthesiser and later the rock tones in “You Don’t Know I Play” can be confusing if you are unfamiliar with the electro/dance habit of mixing various musical styles. At times throughout A Night to Remember it feels as if there are many songs within the one track due to this, which can be confusing and disorientating but further adds to the diversity on the album. This styling continues later with “Kinfolk,” however it’s customary within Shonlock’s niche market to make such bold transitions within a song, and his ability to excel at it so well is a true reflection of his excellent musicianship.
The introduction to “Hurricane” brings the atmosphere down, with the use of a brass section and Shonlock’s vocals calling on a more introspective look at the listener’s journey with God. As the song continues, the singer’s trademark beats come into the chorus as he sings, “When lightning breaks me you cut me open, you took my hurting gave me hope.” While the theology of these lyrics could insight debate, Shonlock’s courage in sharing the biblical principle of rejoicing in our struggles is commendable, especially as it is done in such a unique way. “We Walk On Water” continues the Biblical narrative, this time the singer encourages listeners to press in to God during hardships, with the acoustic and pop driven melody making this an uplifting and encouraging track.
Heading towards the conclusion of the album, “I Like To Win” shows Shonlock’s ingenuity with tones of a high school marching band, having listeners tap into their competitive nature as they strive to keep running the race of life. “Beyond This World” continues with this eternal mindset as he implores, “Someone needs you more than you know.” Finishing with “My Choice Is You,” we are left with a sweet aftertaste as Shonlock delivers a pop driven love song applying both to a partner and our Saviour.
While listeners unfamiliar with the electro/dance genre may struggle to understand the variety of styles found on Shonlock’s album, fans with be delighted with the quality and content enveloped between the ten tracks. A convoluted yet simple album, A Night To Remember sees Shonlock exercising the best of his musical abilities, drawing his audience closer to the truth of God. Old and new fans alike will be clamouring to purchase A Night To Remember which is out now.
The incredible “We Walk On Water” music video is currently premiering over at NewReleaseTuesday here and you can watch the “A Night To Remember” music video below: