Christon Gray is quite an interesting musician. Who is Christon Gray? He’s an urban artist who sings, raps, and incorporates gospel and inspirational messaging into his music. He’s not a household name, but on his latest album The Glory Album, Gray shows he has plenty to offer both secular and religious music fans. Need a musical blessing? The Glory Album has got you covered!
Following the lush intro where Gray shows multiple facets of his himself (“The Glory, Pt. 1”), Gray nails it on the energetic “Stop Me,” where he definitely sounds unstoppable. Malicious sounding production, assured, confident rhymes from Gray, and “Stop Me” is indisputable hit. Hey, has “and Lord if I’m doing it wrong then please stop me” ever resonated with such swagger?
“Fort Knox” features one of the sickest beats from The Glory Album. Furthermore, it features beautiful vocals from Gray, which are further amplified on the chorus and the heartfelt strings. “Fort Knox” is clean, wholesome fun that sounds almost too good to be true. “Afraid With You” has a touch act to follow, but it’s no slouch in the least. But still, it’s totally tough to top a song with a brilliant reference to Duke Ellington (“I’m not Duke Ellington / trying to find what key we in”).
“50 Shades” nails the two-part song, beginning with an edgier, hip-hop driven sound before a Kirk Franklin interlude leads to a more reverent, soulful quality. “Connor McDees” follows up the softer side of “50 Shades” with more aggressive, in-your-face rhymes – in the most Christian way possible of course!
“No 51 (The Glory, Pt. II)” initiates ‘Side B’ of The Glory. All in all, it’s a smooth and enjoyable record. Give Gray credit for that falsetto. “Open Door (See You Later)” contrasts “No 51,” opting for an edgier, hip-hop driven sound, much like “Connor McDees.” Like everything else, this is slickly produced, giving mainstream, secular hip-hop a run for its money.
Need a bright, chivalrous, sensational R&B song? “My Love Is Real” is certainly it! Call it what it is – “the cat’s meow.” Horns, falsetto, and feel-good vibes – what more can the listener ask for? “Nowhere” opts for a different sort of love – the love of God. “I ran away, still you pursued / though you came out of nowhere / and carried me through,” Gray sings in reverent, gracious fashion. Believer or not, hard to knock the sincerity that Gray showcases on the CCM cut.
Following a soulful preceding interlude, “Black Male (Blackmail)” keeps the hits coming. The richness of Gray’s voice is what really shines here – one of his strongest performances. Besides the voice, the honesty and the depth of the message is appropriate given the times. “Follow You” concludes The Glory Album on a high note – no strike that – a heavenly note!
So just how glorious is The Glory Album? Quite glorious indeed without question! For some secular music fans, there’s often a perception that albums that explore spiritual themes and eschew the ‘sinfulness’ of secular music are ‘square’ and lack oomph. This is by no means the case with The Glory Album. Gray does a fantastic job of covering his bases and appealing to a multitude of fans.
Favorites: “Stop Me,” “Fort Knox,” “50 Shades,” “My Love Is Real,” “Nowhere” and “Black Male (Blackmail)”
Christon Gray • The Glory Album • RCA • Release Date: 3.11.16