Prime Cuts: You Are, Through All of It, Where I End
When Colton Dixon first came out of American Idol with his spikey blonde streaks, it was easy to envisage him just as another wanna-be pop rocker taking a stab at fame. But when his debut album "The Messenger" came out, it silenced many naysayers. Rather, than eschewing his Christian roots and opting for those transient pop fluff, Dixon shows on his debut record that he is a man serious about his Savior. The tunes show that Dixon is not just a dial a radio artist. But his songs show depth and dimension both lyrically and sonically. Released last year, his sophomore album, "Anchor," farther cements him as a consummate artist who is here to stay. His Christian AC #1 Hit ballad "Through All of It" showcases Dixon not just as the next piano man but one who is capable of worshipping God in an intimate way.
Perhaps with "Through All of It" as the template, Dixon has decided to do "Calm Before the Storm." This record is actually the result of two separate EPs. The first of which is entitled "Calm" which comprises of 4 acoustic takes of his previously released songs plus the new song "Where I End." The second half of the album "The Storm" are electronic dance embellishments of 5 selections from Dixon's previous album "Anchor." Nevertheless, the first half of the album is already worth the purchase. Cream among the 5 ballads is the aforementioned "Through All of It." Without resorting to polytechnical ingenuity, "Through All of It" is a simple piano-based testimony of God's sovereignty despite human failures and doubts. Dixon's worshipful nuances on these songs really showcases the depth of his love for Jesus.
In the same trajectory is the new song "Where I End." In our culture of the pontification of the self, this ode of self-denial is such a rare gem and so glowingly Biblical. Partnering with sister, Schyler Dixon, "You Are," Dixon's debut single, is transformed into a duet. The understated and minimalistic backing places the attention rightly on the complementary voices of the siblings. "Limitless" receives a full face-lift. Relative to the original, "Limitless" is almost like a new song wrapped with an ethereal and echoey vibe. The second half of the album slouches in terms of quality relative to the first half. For starters: all the songs come from Dixon's album #2 "Anchor." The auto-voicing of Dixon on "More of You" certainly creates a mechanical robotic sound that sounds artificial. While the BLRZ Remix of "Anchor" is tad better adding a creative Eastern influence to its steely wall of sounds.
Truth be told, the "Storm" side of "Calm Before the Storm" is good listening, but it's not an essential purchase if you not into remixes. But when it comes to the "Calm" side of this album, that's a different story: its warm acoustics and Dixon's passion vocal soars are reasons enough for fans to shout about.
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