Only Slightly Above Average but Well Worth a Listen
Posted October 04, 2011
By JJFrancesco_NRT, Staff Reviewer
Shane and Shane aren’t among the big names one thinks of when one thinks of a CCM artist. Indeed, they aren’t the most played on the radio. But for those who dig a little deeper into the industry, their name isn’t one that is unheard of. Having only heard a few songs from them prior to this, I was able to listen to this album fairly objectively and I was quite surprised with it. While it’s not particularly mind blowing, nor does it do anything to establish itself as a landmark release, it does show an effort to make itself enjoyable, and that’s an underrated thing in the music industry.
The album opens with a stripped back folk feel that can be a bit misleading for a few seconds before opening track “Liberty” kicks off into a memorable tune singing of the freedom we get in Christ, proving to be an album highlight. “Your Love” is another strong song. It’s a bit more cookie-cutter but it’s done well enough to make that forgivable. “Without You” follows in a similar fashion. “Future Version” is a bit funkier in sound and is definitely different enough to stand out. While a bit less memorable, it’s still enjoyable enough.
The album’s title track is among the better songs on the album, a stirring anthem for parents giving advice on bringing up their children to know what really matters as a Christian. “Miracle” and “Victory” keep up the pace of good songs. After that though, the songs tend to run together, albeit while still remaining pleasant enough.
The album doesn’t have any especially noticeable misfire, just songs that aren’t as memorable as others, and unfortunately the lesser songs end up keeping the album from really being a standout as the quality found in the album highlights could’ve made for a really strong album if maintained consistently.
Thematically, the album is an unashamed product of Christian merit. “Praise Him” is a straightforward but honest worship song. “Liberty” rejoices in Christ. Songs like “Your Love” and “Running To You” aren’t particularly innovative but it’s still easy to feel the message resonating. And songs like the title track, “Because He’s God” and “Grace is Sufficient” offer enough lyrical meant for Christians to chew on to keep the album from sounding at all uninspired. No song tries to hide the faith behind it, making the album feel all the more heartfelt and honest, without sinking too much into the trite clichés that plague modern Christian music.
Shane and Shane don’t try to wow listeners with a big sound. Their music is more subtle and intimate. While that often leaves the music sounding a bit forgettable, when the truly golden moments are struck, they are all the more meaningful as a result of this soothing and striped down sound. The One You Need may not be the album a listener looking for songs to get stuck in their head for weeks on end needs, but it might just be what those after a more relaxing and introspective listen, one that probes through some different areas in our Christian faith from celebrating our joy in Christ to humble praising of him, are looking for.
Reviewed by JJ Francesco
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