Prime Cuts: Song for Sinners, I Remember What We Thought Love Was, Be My Brother
Overall Grade: 4/5
It is not coincidental that David Phelps christens this record as GameChanger. Not only is this his debut record for StowTown, but it's also his most adventurous, daring, and innovative effort to date. Whilst Phelps may have cemented his reputation in Southern Gospel music with his involvement in the Gaither Vocal Band, this record proves that he cannot be domesticated to one genre of music. Rather, this new release is a sonic kaleidoscope of pop, jazz, Inspirational, R&B and even Broadway-inspired selections. Helmed by Phelps and his nephew, Grayson Proctor, GameChanger features 15 diverse-sounding selections canvasing an array of issues from brotherhood to forgiveness to romance to faith and much more.
Despite having the metallic-sounding syncopated beats that Drake would be proud of, "Hello Beautiful" also utilizes country music's story-telling technique to convey the power of commitment over the ups and downs of life. More innovative sounds come with the title track "GameChanger" which incorporates modern beats with elements of traditional gospel choir sounds and pop opera. Though one is not too enthused about the vanilla nature of the lyrics and melody, the synth-driven "I'm Gonna Love" finds Phelps breaking out into the pop arena with a youthful zest. While many of Phelps' peers would have stayed clear of hip-hop EDM beats, Phelps does it with class with "Fix Yourself."
Though many of the songs deal with relationships of all types, Phelps doesn't look at them with rose-tainted glasses. Palatable to real life where a father-son relationship can be messy, "Eye to Eye" recounts how our differences can drive us closer. "Be My Brother" is a heart-warming call for deeper friendships, a much-needed cry today. While the piano ballad "I Remember What We Thought Love Was" paints a picture of love that is realistic, biblical, and filled with wisdom.
When it comes to issues to do with faith: "Eventual Healing" (despite its nondescript melody) packs a good theological treatise on healing that is responsible to Scripture. "If I Forgive," which showcases Phelps multiple reaching octave vocals, helps ground the issue of forgiveness in the Gospel. Those who like a jazzy touch to worship will love the grace-infested "Song for Sinners." Therefore, if you are tired of CCM records where all the songs sound similar, then GameChanger is indeed is the game changer for you.