Prime Cuts: Depending on You, Always Jesus, Love Like You
Overall Grade: 4.25/5
Gene Moore takes his time to get his records out. He would rather deliver quality than mere quantity. Though he has been signed to Motown Gospel since 2013, "Tunnel Vision" is only his sophomore release for the imprint. It is the much anticipated follow-up to 2017's "The Future." One listen to this 9-song record reveals that this is not a phone-in affair. Moore is no slouch. Rather, what we get here is a carefully crafted album demonstrating a melange of sounds and influences. Unabashedly a fan of keystones such as Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye, Moore indulges us in old school Motown sounds of yore. But never one to be stymied in one type of sound, we also get to enjoy some modern worship balladry, some hip urban grooves, and some electrifying church-bursting Gospel. Not only is the sound well-developed but the songs also enjoy the deft touches of a star-studded list of producers and songwriters, including Matt Redman, Eric Dawkins, Jason Nelson, and Motown singer/songwriter BJ The Chicago Kid.
The album has been preceded with the release of a couple of singles. The first of which is the urban-funk "Won't Be Moved," which was co-written by Moore with BJ The Chicago Kid. The song, which speaks about not being tossed around by the storms of life, is a clever word play on the protest anthem "I Shall Not Be Moved." Meanwhile, the melodic "Ask for Rain" is co-written by Moore with Bishop Jason Nelson. This time round, Moore waxes his silky tenor over what is a soothing 70s-sounding ballad about resting in our miracle working God. More ballads come in the way of the piano-led "Depending on You." Sliced through our pride of relying on our own strength, this gorgeous worship ballad powerfully empties our hands and hearts before the Cross of Jesus.
What do Matt Redman, Jonas Myrin, Danny Gokey and Bernie Helms share in common? All of them have a hand in scribing "Always Jesus." From the crunchy acoustic guitar riffs to a full-blown Gospel-infused chorus heightened by Moore's elongated notes, "Always Jesus" is the worship anthem. Anchoring in Jesus as the center of all things, this song deserves wide-circulation.
Those who love the old Motown sound will love the 70s sounding keyboard of "Love Like You." Sounding just like what Stevie Wonder would have recorded in his prime, "Love like You" is a heartfelt prayer to Jesus to transform our hearts to be more like him. Listen especially to the way Moore lets himself loose in "Apart" as he grooves along effortlessly along the song's infectious melody. Meanwhile "Take Care" and "That God" bring Moore back to the more traditional Gospel terrain. Though both songs brim with energy (especially the choir in "Take Care") they are more on the nondescript side.
On the whole, the couple of years of wait for this new record to drop is definitely worth it. The songs here are mostly well-chosen. And they helped bring out different textures of sounds, emotions and influences making this a stunning listening experience. Most importantly, these songs do tunnel our vision back to Jesus even when everything falls around us.