|Thanks, Connor -- we've missed this kind of music! | Posted January 06, 2017
Cleveland, Ohio's Connor Flanagan has been refining his sound for a while now as an artist, and with Mountains, it's clear he's hitched his musical wagons in the space between hip-hop and corporate worship music. Whereas Flanagan had been more of a folk/pop artist on previous efforts, his stylistic experiments have cemented his unique contribution to Christian music.
Lyrically speaking, Mountains reads like a journal, from Flanagan's honest spiritual musings ("I Believe (Mountains That I Face)", "These Broken Walls", "Without You") to his own thoughts on day to day life and making music ("27", "Writer's Block"). His delivery is focused, playful and honest all at the same time.
Musically, I'd compare Flanagan's sound to the darling of the early to mid 2000s, Paul Wright, who mixed acoustic guitars, hip-hop beats, raps and smooth vocals together for a vibey sort of sound. And sometimes, it even carries an indie pop vibe similar to the much ballyhooed and now-defunct band Above the Golden State with a hint of current chart-topper Ryan Stevenson. While Flanagan hasn't quite hit the stride or polish those bands had/have, it's refreshing to hear that sound reemerge.
"Fire In My Eyes" is my favorite tune on the project, blending all of the aforementioned elements into one song: humor, lyrical honesty, vertical worship, acoustic guitar, drum machines, raps, smooth vocals and harmonies, and even the much-beloved "Hey!" ringing out.
Fans will also be excited about "Waterfall," as Christian music hitmaker Shonlock makes a special appearance. The sing-talking Flanagan does on the song provides a nice juxtaposition to Shonlock's well-delivered second verse. The song, thematically, is a shotgun approach to the love of God, which is "falling down like a waterfall," per the bridge of the song.
With Mountains, Flanagan has brought a sound back to Christian music that has been sorely missed. He still has some room for growth in terms of delivery, but I can't help but celebrate the many positives of this project. From the laid-back delivery of deeply personal vertical pop to the good acoustic hip-hop production value, it's exciting to see where Flanagan will go as he continues to ease into this creative direction.
Song to download:
"Fire In My Eyes" (Buy on iTunes here.)
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