- WIN: Best Gospel Song, "Hello Fear"
- WIN: Best Gospel Album "Hello Fear"
Spotify Link: Kirk Franklin – Hello Fear
I have a great deal of respect for Kirk Franklin, and I think a big part of that solely comes from having one of his tapes when I was younger. I only owned a few, and I listened to them endlessly. One was "Kirk Franklin and the Family," and the main song I rewound and replayed was "Why We Sing." Something was entrancing, and this was way before my CCM phase.
Kirk's still clearly making a huge impact in the gospel world, remaining one of the first names anyone ever thinks of when asked about the genre. For me, for a long time, he was actually the only Christian artist I could have named! And now, years and years later, I get to hear his latest and greatest.
I think it's a ballsy move to put a title track up as the first one on an album, but that's what we get here. "Hello Fear" starts with the family lightly singing an intro speaking to Fear itself. It gives a background and context to the song, and then moving on to better things. It's a break-up song in some ways, and an introduction to the new love of grace. Simply, it's a standing up against fear and for yourself. For a lighter sounding song lacking musical intensity, it's a strong song. The tone is a great beginning to the album, and could even well stand on its own. Very impressive from all angles considered.
We do pick it up more with "Before I Die." There's a cool slight dance beat along with this one, but Kirk always has had this voice that makes you sit ups and listen a little closer. He's so serious when he leads the family in praise. It's almost a little intimidating, but he does have the sweet lyrics backing him up and making it easier to handle. Plus, he's got that crowd going out there.
"Everyone Hurts," which is not, in fact, an REM song. Kidding, I know the difference. This has an R&B backing with very little church-like atmosphere to it. And of course, there's an assurance that God'll heal the hurt. It's not till the very end you hear a little organ, reminding me there's a church element. Not a bad thing, just not a hard-hitting song at the moment.
This next one starts off just like a show tune for some reason in my head. "I Smile" is upbeat and cute as it goes, and sickeningly sweet in melody. We've now gone from such incredibly sad and down songs to one that doesn't have a care in the world. I never thought I'd describe a song from a Kirk Franklin CD as downright cute, but that's about all I've got left for this one when it all boils. down. Awww. And then he goes on to give shout outs to various cities and states - and includes Jersey. Just too sweet for more words.
Quick one: "Never Alone Interlude." Having just come from a choir concert at my old high school it's got a really pretty sound, possibly with some younger voices if I'm not mistaken. Really pretty transition into the last section of this album.
"The Altar" features Marvin Sapp and Beverly Crawford. Very classing group gospel at the start with every word being sled into as it builds up. It's like the title - going back to the basic roots of everything at the center of gospel.
Rance Allen, Marvin Winans, John P. Kee, & Isaac Carree are all on board for "Something About The Name Jesus Pt. 2." If it weren't pushing one in the morning right now, I'd be less lazy and figure out if there's a part one. Instead, I'll assume there is. Lots of ad libbing, lots of feeling the power. No idea who's who, but oh well. This is what we miss out on when you get a recorded version instead of seeing the live excitement.
"Today" is live and a little more exciting even through the recording itself. The song takes on a much most pop-based beat. If you were to put other lyrics to it, there's a good chance this could be any female/male duet song you hear on the radio. It's fun though, not raunchy, and I feel the crowd and choir all up on their feet partying throughout the whole thing.
I guess the titling for the next two is for what they create in the show: "The Moment #1." I mean, that really strips down any possible alternate meanings, and lets it exist as just that. A woman who takes lead lets go with her voice in a very extreme, real way. Even the quiet testimony moments of trading sentences is solemn and honest. It flows so seamlessly into "The Moment #2" that, since I didn't realize the change, I don't even feel the need to create a new paragraph. Just listen.
"A God Like You" brings us to a hip-hop number in final song time! Okay, there's some child-like bounce to it, but I doubt that's totally what they were going for. On the more intense song, the words are quick and poignant. It's an interesting way to end things out. I like that he's not closing on a quiet note, because my image of Kirk Franklin has always been loud and out there, not soft and pretty. It's a generally good song beat-wise and a good closer overall.
Added to My Playlist:
- "Hello Fear"
- "I Am"
I lost this dang review twice while trying to publish because of the 'swipe-to-go-back" feature Macs have. But as far as the music goes, well done as always, Family and Kirk. They put on a great show even through a recording (the only way I've heard them) and never fail to display true love through speakers.