A Gospel Message and More | Sojourners

A Gospel Message and More

One of the issues I haven't quite resolved since choosing to become a Christian as a teenager is how to relate to contemporary Christian music. I believe that the message in most Christian music is sincere, a positive word in a world that can be overwhelming in its negativity. But in many cases, the music itself doesn't engage me the way that secular music does. It seems that the earnestness of the message becomes more important than creating powerful and entertaining music.

With their second album, So Much 2 Say, Take 6 stays true to the message and the music. The lyrics are distinctly Christian. The music defies quick labels, although group member Mervyn Warren calls it "contemporary-Christian-a cappella-pop-jazz." Whatever you call it, So Much 2 Say combines six talented voices, styles from scat to traditional gospel, and innovative arrangements into a multilayered collection that demonstrates the exhilaration of singing good news and singing it well.

The title track opens the album with smooth and frenetic scat-influenced jazz, point-counter pointing through to an abrupt stop. In case the listener is settled in for a pure jazz offering the next track quickly turns those expectations on end. "I L-O-V-E U" is a danceable song that weaves an R&B lead vocal with jazz harmonies, and underlies the whole with a body-produced "drum/percussion" line. The lyrics turn on an alphabet hinge: "I'm more than Able/Like a B-con N the night/To C that you don't/ever lose your way." While this could have been gimmicky, the lyrics are so tightly and cleverly interlocked that it works, and is fun as well.

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