Prime Cuts: Coming Home, How to Live, I'm Not Your Suicide
Ranked by "Music Enthusiast Magazine" as the second most anticipated album of 2014, the buzz is already bursting at the seams when it comes to Michael Sweet's "I'm Not Your Suicide." To further whet the appetite of fans, two teaser singles ("The Cause" and "I'm Not Your Suicide") have already preceded the album's May 7th drop date. Michael Sweet is of course no stranger to the Christian music scene. As the front man and guitarist of the metallic rock band Stryper, they have built a cachet of hits starting in the 80s such as "Together As One," "Reach Out," "Reason for the Season" and "Honestly." They have also sold over 10 million copies of their albums worldwide and they have been known for their Bible tossing stadium packed concerts. Last year, Stryper made their comeback, albeit with a great splash, with their return to form "No More Hell To Pay." Besides making an instantaneous Top 40 debut on the Billboard 200, it landed at #2 on the Top Christian Albums charts, #3 on Top Hard Rock Albums and #6 on Top Rock Albums.
Although Sweet is still very much with the band, he has on occasions stepped away in releasing his own solo endeavors. What gives Sweet's solo albums a leg up over his collaborative efforts with Stryper is that he's not afraid to explore musical avenues he has not been able to do with his band. Though "I'm Not Your Suicide" comfortably sits within the confines of the metallic rock genre, he does that a few de tours that are worthy of pursuit. Easily the album's highlight is the piano ballad "How to Live." Featuring his Stryper cohorts Timothy Gaines and Robert Sweet, "How to Live" is a gripping power ballad that starts off with the piano before bursting into an explosive chorus calls to mind those Diane Warren classics from the 90s. Also, a pleasant surprise comes with Sweet's cover of Neil Young's "Heart of Gold." Seasoned with a matured nuanced, Sweet comes across convincing when he sings: "I've been to Hollywood/I've been to Redwood/I crossed the ocean for a heart of gold."
The title cut "I'm Not Your Suicide" finds the famed scribe Blair Daly (Tim McGraw, Rascal Flatts) sharing song writing credits with Sweet. Pricked by the fact that almost half of abused children commit suicide, "I'm Not Your Suicide" is the result of Sweet's involvement with Childhelp as a way of bringing hope to these kids. Also not to be missed is "The Cause." In subtle ways "The Cause" gets into the skin of our consciousness in questioning us on the meaning of life; this is a song bustling with great apologetic potential. In the light of Sweet's accompanying autobiography "Honestly" (which will be released with this CD) that details the trials and tribulations of his life on the road, the rock-country tingled "Coming Home" is extremely poignant.
Yet, fans who have waited for Sweet to rip and roar with outburst of frenzied guitar riffs and thunderous drums will indulge in "Anything Else" and "Unsuspecting." And for those who like those epic anthemic stadium rockers, "Taking on the World Tonight" fits the bill perfectly. On one hand, "I'm Not Your Suicide" checks all the right boxes as far as an indubitably furious rock album is concerned. On the other hand, "I'm Not Your Suicide" offers enough surprises that should be tantalizing enough for those who want a breadth of fresh air.