Review: Daniel Johnson, ‘Go’


51JYTtVi06L._SL500_AA280_

Even at nearly 80 minutes, Go ends up being a truly inspiring listen.

Daniel Johnson • Go • eOne Music • US Release Date: March 4, 2014

I know what you’re thinking – why is a gospel music review featured on the site today? Is Brent Faulkner feeling guilty after reviewing that sinful Young Money album, Rise of an Empire or that f-bomb laden Chief Keef single? Nope – let me explain. Well… basically as I was reviewing numerous albums (for other online publications I contribute to) and ended up goofing up – sigh. I accidently reviewed the wrong artist and album and the resulting product just happened to be a gospel album.  I am a fan of gospel music, but I rarely review it for this site, as this is a more pop-cultural, pop music oriented site.  But with no reason to waste a perfectly good review, why not post it? The saying is “go big or go home” after all, right? Right!  Here goes nothing!

Vocalist Daniel Johnson has performed with numerous gospel artists, as well as non-gospel artists as well. After serving as a singer in New Breed, Johnson releases his debut LP, Go.  Like his work with Israel Houghton & New Breed, Go is filled with numerous contrasts and top-notch musicianship.  Though it clocks in ambitiously at nearly 80 minutes, it is a truly, worthwhile and inspiring listen.

Go opens with ballad “Have Your Way”, a beautiful, reverent track benefitting from its restraint.  Though lacking in tempo and overt, ‘in your face’ histrionics, “Way” articulates a prudent message.  “Best Thing” contrasts, with Johnson and company delivering a praise anthem utilizing familiar rock/pop cues characterizing Israel Houghton’s music.  “Best Thing” pumps up the listener with rollicking pace, inciting praise.  “Lift Him High” keeps the tempo moving and spirit high, evidenced by simple, telling lyrics carried by choir: “Praise the lord everybody, rejoice! Rejoice!” “Lift Him High” stylistically embraces funk, sporting clever synths and punchy horns.  “Jesus Here” is firmly planted in the contemporary gospel style, featuring Christian rapper B-Luv.  Modern it is, “Jesus Here” has the power to appeal to audiences older and younger.  Vocally, Johnson embodies the spirit.

Title track “Go” switches the groove to six-eight, maintaining medium tempo.  A bit more reverent initially, “Go” expands into a heart-wrenching number that also transfers to its proceeding reprise.  “Never Alone” catches the ear given its lift of the melody from Billy Joel’s “The Longest Time” on the verses, not to mention its tropical influence.  Enjoyable, “Never Alone” hooks the listener from onset.  The a cappella vocals towards the end are an exceptional touch.  On “This Love”, Johnson and company magnify the Most High by referencing the awesomeness of his love:  “We’ll sing it over and over / how great is your love, how great is your love”.  “This Love” ends up building up into quite the fever pitch, with an electrifying vamping section.   Perhaps for the first time since “Have Your Way”, “Where I Belong” completely slackens the tempo and shows a highly disciplined level of restraint.  Don’t take the restraint as a bore; “Where I Belong” continues a high level of quality and consistency for Johnson.

The repetitive “Your Presence” foreshadows 11-minute juggernaut “Grateful”, driven by choral vocals and rich sounding organ.  “Grateful” is a passionate ode to God, with notable lyrics “We would not exist, if it wasn’t for the Lord” summing up the ‘grateful’ sentiment.  “God is here now, all you gotta do is receive”, is the message of faithful, brief penultimate cut “Receive”.  “Receive” is incredibly effective, keeping the momentum high for spiritual closing number “I’ll Go”.  After a calm start, “I’ll Go” both predictably and magnificently percolates.

Ultimately, Daniel Johnson’s debut album proves to be an exceptional one.  He shifts through various styles, offers a variety of slower and quicker cuts, and ultimately delivers sensational vocals supported by his choir.  Through and through, Johnson showcases his versatility as a truly viable contemporary gospel artist.

Favorite Song: “Never Alone”

Verdict: ★★★½

Advertisements

7 comments

  1. Greate post. Keep writing such kind of information on your page.
    Im really impressed by it.
    Hello there, You have performed a fantastic job. I’ll certainly digg it and in my view
    suggest to my friends. I am confident they will be
    benefited from this web site.

  2. Attractive part of content. I simply stumbled upon your website
    and in accession capital to assert that I get actually enjoyed account your weblog posts.
    Anyway I’ll be subscribing for your feeds and even I success you access consistently quickly.

  3. Great post. I used to be checking constantly this
    weblog and I’m impressed! Very useful info specifically the last part 🙂 I take care of such information much.

    I was looking for this certain info for a long time.
    Thank you and good luck.

  4. Hello, I think your blog might be having browser compatibility issues.
    When I look at your blog in Chrome, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping.

    I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other then that, great blog!

  5. I like the helpful info you supply in your articles. I’ll bookmark your weblog and
    check once more right here regularly. I am somewhat certain I’ll be informed plenty of new stuff right right here!

    Good luck for the following!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s