Kirk Franklin • Losing My Religion • RCA • Release Date: 11.13.15
At this point in his career, we’ve come to expect long gaps in between Kirk Franklin albums. There was a span of four years in between Franklin’s The Fight of My Life (2007) and previous effort, Hello Fear (2011). Now another four years have passed and Franklin returns with his latest studio effort, the interesting titled Losing My Religion. Like any Kirk Franklin effort, Losing My Religion is very, well Kirk Franklin-like of course!
Losing My Religion opens with the spoken word title track. Franklin’s first line on “Losing My Religion” is sure to raise eyebrows as he says, “I’m losing my religion, thank God / I prayed about my decision, how odd.” Franklin hasn’t lost faith in God, but he’s clear to state that religion itself shouldn’t be a mask keeping us from doing God’s work. He closes the opener saying, “Can you believe? I’m losing my religion, thank God / helping you lose your is my job.”
“Miracle” uses the tried-and-true Kirk Franklin formula – the choir carries the melody while Franklin essentially preaches and amplifies with his spoken word introjections. While “Miracle” sounds familiar in modus operandi, its message of how thankful we should be of “God’s miracles” don’t fall on deaf ears by any means.”
“123 Victory” is contemporary-minded, appealing specifically to the young generation of believers. Styled with a hip-hop/urban swagger, per the usual, Franklin’s ministry is effective: “Hey yo 1-2-3 / get up with got victory / no weapon they throw at me / you know it won’t prosper, No!”
“Road Trip” feels like a natural follow-up, with it’s prudent lyrics. “So pack a smile, cause this road won’t be easy,” the choir sings on the chorus, “Doubt will come, believe me / sometimes you’ll wonder if it’s alright / hold on tight, it’s about to be amazing…” Real talk by all means; life and the Christian walk aren’t buttery smooth. By the end, “Road Trip” really percolates to a boil.
“Pray For Me” slackens the pace and finds Franklin singing the lead, something of a rarer occurrence for those who a familiar with his discography. The results are successful in this initially stripped cut where the focus is the lyricism. By the end, “Pray For Me” grows in overall scope, embracing the contemporary urban bag of tracks.
“If you’re tired of being the same / if you’re tired of things not changing / it’s time for you to get out the way…” First single “Wanna Be Happy?” ranks among Losing My Religion’s elites, something like a “Smile” 2.0 (Hello Fear, 2011). Uplifting, easygoing, and slickly produced, “Wanna Be Happy?” has all of the pieces of a crossover gospel-contemporary R&B hit.
“It’s Time” (featuring Tasha Page-Lockhart and Zacardi Cortez) deals with the idea of God moving at his own pace – the old “may not come when you want him/ but he’ll be there right on time.” The other component to this is about being a better Christ-follower because of the realization of God moving. “True Story” follows, using stories to minister about hard situations that a number of believers and nonbelievers – society in general – may experience. The answer to such difficult situations – as Bishop Paul Morton once sung, “put it in God’s hands.”
“Get up cause it’s not over” is the message of “Over” in which Franklin and company make it clear that adversity can’t keep you down, particularly considering notable lyrics “if God said it’s not over.” The smooth and lush “When” welcomes Kim Burrell and Lalah Hathaway as guests – two truly exceptional voices. Expectedly, the results are rock solid – or gospel solid… something in that ballpark.
“My World Needs You” (featuring Sarah Reeves, Tasha Cobbs and Tamela Mann) easily ranks near the top. It’s incredibly nuanced and on-point in messaging. The notion that the world as a whole needs God isn’t new, but particularly in Christian circles, it’s one that never grows old. Closing songs “Intercession” and “No Sleep Tonight” are sound without being necessarily being standouts. ‘Course, following up the exceptional “My World Needs You” can’t be too easy.
All in all, Losing My Religion is another strong offering from Kirk Franklin. It’s not his best effort – certainly not the juggernaut of say the Nu Nation Project – but there are plenty of enjoyable, well-stitched together moments. Has Franklin lost his edge? Nope…not in the least!
Favorites: “Losing My Religion,” “123 Victory,” “Wanna Be Happy?”