Prime Cuts: Been So Good, Trust in God, More than Able
Overall Grade: 4/5
With a Grammy win for their Old Church Basement album and another Grammy nomination for LIONS, it is difficult to follow-up such mammoth successes with a new album. Released 14 months after LIONS, CAN YOU IMAGINE is a more modest affair. Rather than packing the record with 15 tracks (LIONS) and 13 tracks (Old Church Basement), CAN YOU IMAGINE only has 8 songs. Instead of stocking up the track list with star-power artists, the lead vocalists are all in-house and regulars. They include Brandon Lake, Tiffany Hudson, Chris Brown, Chandler Moore, and newbie Jonsal Barrientes.
Anchor track "More than Able" sets the tone and tenor of record. Written by Hillsong's Ben Fielding, Steven Furtick, Naomi Raine, and Moore, "More than Able" is a ball of Holy Spirit-fire as vocalists Chandler Moore and Tiffany Hudson steer us to the fact that God is not done with us. Chris Brown who gets to lead 3 out of the 8 tracks is particularly affective on "Trust in God." With the verses taking cues from the hymn "Blessed Assurance," the hymn is re-written with a contemporary gospel-sensitivity made even more dynamic with the input of a choir.
Jonsal Barrientes, who is featured on lead vocals for the first time, has an expressive (otherwise anonymous) tenor. And he puts his vocals to work on stately anthemic Easter ballad "No Body." If you are into big bombastic power ballads, "No Body" is definitely up your alley. With lyrics that call to mind the earlier track "More than Able" and Sinach's "Waymaker," "Make a Way" is redundant. Much better is the Tiffany Hudson-led "Been So Good." Hudson has never sounded more gorgeous than on this superior piano ballad. The way she sings, "you have been so good to me God, I can't believe how You love me," sends shivers of joy down your spine.
Brandon Lake shows up on the album's final two tracks. First stop is "Running;" which is a pretty average mid-tempo number. He then joins Chris Brown and Chandler Moore on the album closer "Praise." In a ballad-heavy album, it's good to see the trio break loose and have fun on what sounds like a very raw and authentic praise session. This is so nourishing for the soul. At the end of the day, CAN YOU IMAGINE doesn't really stretch your imagination as far as worship music is concerned. But in the midst of it all, there are still some gems.