Prime Cuts: I Choose Joy, Salvation's Song, I'll Never Know
Overall Grade: 3.5/5
"Salvation's Song" isn't just the name of the Taylors' fourth record for StowTown Records. It's also the theme that gels the songs together. This is thus a concept album where all the seven songs revolve around the Gospel and its ramifications in our daily living. In this world darkened by sin's nocturnal powers, this album is such a shinning lodestar. In this regard, this album is not only an important one, but it's also one that serves wide circulation. "Salvation's Song," like most of the releases that bear the StowTown imprint, is produced by Wayne Haun, with the songs coming from the oeuvre of top-notched writers such as Joseph Habedank, Joel Lindsey, Marcia Henry , Michael Farren, Randall Garland and so forth.
The album opens with the pop-centric title cut "Salvation's Song." Singing the story of the good news of how Jesus saves us has never sounded so exciting. With the song's throwback 90s-sounding percussion, the tune's vivacious melody, and the siblings' rejuvenated harmonies, this song bristles with a life of its own. The tempo decelerates with well-crafted (though predictable) big ballad "I'll Never Know." Contrasting two contrasting pictures between how sin cripples us to the vignette of how the Cross of Jesus Christ liberates us, the Gospel is not only presented clearly but also movingly.
Too often such salvific joy dissipates with the growth of life's thistles, "I Chose Joy" addresses this issue head-on. Gently encouraging us to choose the joy that only Jesus gives in times of anxiety, Suzanne Taylor touches a heart muscle with the ballad "I Choose Joy." Though producer Wayne Haun tries to vary the tempo of the songs, there's a predictability among a couple of the propulsive numbers. "The Same" and "Love Really Changed the World" are both bouncy numbers with the liberal use brassy horns and shimmering organ sounds. More contemporary sounding with the use of electronic snap drums is "You Restore." But the song takes on a predictive melodic progression that doesn't set it apart from the sea of countless upbeat numbers.
This album, in many aspects, is a good. But it is also predictable. It seems like the Taylors (or should we also include producer Wayne Haun) have stuck on to the same sonic palette for far too long. This is already their fourth album in a row they have had used the same formula. One would like to see the Taylors branch out a little by perhaps writing more of their material. Or they should at least break away from the pop-country backing for a few tracks on their next record; now that would be something!