Disturbing the Comfortable
Posted September 18, 2015
By MarkRyan_NRT, Staff Reviewer
With one of the most anticipated releases of the year, Andy Mineo brings us his sophomore release Uncomfortable. The album is definitely a departure from the sound we heard on Heroes For Sale, however, this is good thing. Andy has matured since his debut release. His rap style has become his own, and he has truly found his voice. The writing is honest, bringing up topics that may make the listener shiver at first, but on reflection, that is the purpose of the album. Andy has said himself that the point of this album is "to comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable."
The album open with the title track, "Uncomfortable." This song sets the stage for what we are about to hear. It begins us on the journey to our own discomfort (speaking from a "shiny, happy Christian" point of view). The queasy feelings begin when Andy talks about racism, and then the knife goes deep when he mentions Christians with picket signs saying "God hates fags" and how that's not how Jesus would act. The final turn of the knife is when he points out our "happy" name and claim it as Christianity. The verse end with a golden nugget of truth, "so if you want to live a comfortable life / make sure you never love nobody, be selfish, and never sacrifice."
With the stage set, Andy gives us a track dedicated to his hometown, New York, with "Uptown." While it is a great song, how he ties it together with "Now I Know" is sheer artistry, with "Now I Know" featuring a Spanish interlude: "Padre Mio / Padre Mio / Proteja en las calles / Guardia de mi mente / Porque el mundo / Porque el mundo / Miente." Loosely translated, it means "My Father, My Father, protect me in these streets and guard my mind because the world, because the world lies."
"Now I Know" walks through the lies that Andy was told throughout life and the perfect picture that was crushed more and more as he grew older, not unlike many of us who hear the truth for the first time.
The hook on "Now I Know" features Mr. Talkbox, which gives the track an old school groove. Other features on the album include Mali Music on "Desperados," Jon Bellion on "Rat Race," and Mac Powell even shows up on "Make Me A Believer."
In one the most honest moments on the album, Andy gives his older sister Grace (who is deaf) an apology for how he treated her throughout his life on "Hear My Heart." Andy expresses that he is sorry for never learning how to sign and in not doing so becoming blind to his shortcomings as a brother. It is a touching song that may make your eyes water a little bit.
In another Spanish interlude called "David's Roof," Andy artistically gives a perfect intro to "Rat Race." The lyrics "Prepara me para la guerra / Porque comodidad es la caída de reyes / Es la caída de reyes" loosely translate to "Prepare me for war, because comfort is the fall of kings."
These touches are what set the album apart as a story rather than a collection of songs. A thread woven through each track going deeper to the core of the listener.
"Vendetta" is an instant classic. It has an incredible jazz vibe to it with horns and piano, and the message sticks. It is an anthem for millennials. With lyrics like "Pac did a lot more for me than Barack," the song speaks about how we go to Twitter for our news and that the government is out of touch with an entire generation. The final bars of the second verse sum it up perfectly: "I got excess, others got need / I got to answer to God for all of these sneaks / I got a hundred pairs but only two feet. / God forgive me, I been thinking 'bout me, uh / we point fingers at people who sin different, skin different, but the same color we bleed / you wanna know the real problem in America? / always has been, and it always will be: me / if you had any other answer you've been deceived / we been looking for salvation in education / money, leaders, and policies, but we got a bigger need / we got a sin debt that we inherited / we divide ourselves by class, skin color, and our heritage / will our creator bankrupt the heavens so that we could all be there with our brothers and sisters?"
If those lyrics do not somehow make you squirm just a little, then perhaps a search of your heart is required.
This album is truly the best Christian Hip Hop album of the year to date. It is masterfully thought out, and the entire album moves through a progression of many levels of discomfort for the listener. As I sit in my kitchen listening and writing, I am disturbed. My comfort is challenged, and the question remains: will I be bold enough to act in "Love?" Will we as Christians finally make a decision to love others as Christ loved the church, or will we continue to put politics before people?
Song to Download Now:
"Vendetta" (Get it on iTunes here.)
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