Hawk Nelson: "Crazy Love" Review
Posted February 22, 2011
Ever since the release of their debut project, Letters To The President in 2004, Hawk Nelson have been among the most consistent bands in the Christian music industry. Over the course of their five studio album releases, they have produced incredible pop punk music, and with Relient K starting to take more of a secular approach, the pressure has been on these guys to step up and maintain the strength in their respective genre. After chopping and changing between genres over their past albums, Hawk Nelson's latest release Crazy Love marks the bands' return to their traditional pop rock roots, as the album is a high energy and fun filled extravaganza packed with fast paced and engaging tunes. These aspects along with the more Christ-centred lyrics make this album an improvement of Hawk Nelson's previous work.
The album kicks off with the abrupt shouting lyrics of "Tally Ho". It is a fast paced and chaotic rock tune, and only lasts for just under two minutes. The lyrics are centred around the powerful singing of "Pouring out the gasoline" and "Ignite the fuse". The song is very brief and the first half of it can get a little annoying, but once it reaches its peak by the end of the first chorus, there's no stopping. It's the only aggressive rock assault off the album and I couldn't help but air-drum along to it. It is a great introduction to the joyous fun and energy that is to follow with the next twelve tracks. Next up is "Your Love Is A Mystery", which uses electronic sounds and a dance beat. The lyrics in the chorus are in awe of God's mysterious love and grace, "I'm never always right and it's plain to see/You love me Jesus, it's a mystery/You know my faults/You know my wrongs/And You still love me."
The lead single and title track "Crazy Love", co-written with producer Ian Eskelin, is my favourite Hawk Nelson song off all time and a standout off the album. Born out of the ideas presented in Francis Chan's book of the same name, it encourages us to grasp the true meaning behind the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross and demonstrate the "crazy" love of Jesus to others. "...We're the ones who fight down on our knees/Who dare to love our enemies...". "My Next Breath" is a ballad that leans on the slower side of things and confesses the fact that we need Jesus more than anything in the world. "I need you/I need you more than my next breath...I know that I am loved/Because you've bought me with your blood." Hawk Nelson have some fun with the next couple of songs, "We're Alright" and "Skeleton". The former has some excellent guitar work, in fact the best of the album. The lyrics reassure us that we're alright, even though we might feel crazy sometimes. "Skeleton" emphasises the fact that we are immobile and incomplete without God, specifically comparing us to a skeleton. "Don't 'ya know?/ We all have a secret/We have friends who try to keep them/I'm just a skeleton without You now." The aggressive whispering near the end of the song also add to the song's energy and humour.
"We Can Change The World" is a reflection of the bands desire to make a difference in the world and calls all Christians to have the same life purpose. The catchy chorus states, "We can change the world, you and me/We can make a difference if we just believe/When the hands and feet start moving together/We can change the world forever." The message is similar to the title track in that it encourages Christians to stand out from the crowd and make a difference, in turn making the song a standout. I really enjoyed "Shaken" offLive Life Loud and this song reminded me greatly of that. "One Shot" encourages its listeners to live life to the full, take every opportunity as it comes and make the most of life while it counts. "You got one shot, all you got, take it now/You gotta get up, get up, get up/One life, live it right, keep on moving forward/You got one shot everybody it's your time/I want to see you on the other side."
I was dissappointed with the next few songs "Joanna" and "LAX". The rapid drum beat and fast muted guitar in "Joanna" were very enjoyable to listen to, but I found the lyrics to be disappointing. The lyrics describe the breaking up in the relationship with a girl called Joanna instead of them revolving around God. "LAX" is a fifty-seven second song that is added to the set purely for laughs, and don't get me wrong it's hilarious! However the song ultimately ends up to be a minute of pointless screaming and I think this extra space on the record could've been filled with another full length song. Still, the song does bring out the humour in Jason, Jonathan, Dan and Justin from Hawk Nelson.
"Done Holding On" really captivated me right at the end of the album with the chorus' thought provoking lyrics. "I'm giving up my secrets/I'm giving up my faults/Telling you I'm empty, should have known all along/It's taken me my whole life to realise that I'm wrong/I'm giving up my secrets, I'm done holding on."The closing track "Thanks For The Beautiful Memories" would be the perfect closer to a Hawk Nelson concert, as the band thanks their fans, crew and God for being with them throughout the long journey. They describe their life as a band, from signing their first record deal with Tooth & Nail at the age of 17, to selling over 500,000 copies of their albums. "Everything we ever wanted/We just want to thank you all for that we've been through together/Dreams become reality and we just want to thank you one more time."
Overall, Hawk Nelson's latest album Crazy Love was a very enjoyable listen. It was great to see some more christ-centred lyrics from the band, with the unfortunate exception of "Joanna". I loved the simple yet profound message of the amazing love that Jesus showed for us when he sacrificed himself, and the fact that we need to step out and show this "crazy" love to
others. I'd only ever listened to a few singles from Hawk Nelson before this album, so Crazy Love was an excellent new listening experience for me. I would recommend this album to long time fans who loved their debut album Letters To The President, as well as to fans of Stellar Kart. I would call this Hawk Nelson's best project to date, and a must have for long time fans of the band.
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