Prime Cuts: The Answer, My Father's Arms, Never Stopped Loving
Overall Grade: 3/5
Jeremy Camp takes the adage "if it ain't broken, don't fix it" seriously. He has adopted the same patented template he has had been using for his last couple of albums on "The Answer." With big pounding drums, stadium-filling electric guitar riffs and a full-bodied vocals that spreads across a few octaves, "The Answer" is what we have come to expect of Camp. As much as the sound on this new 11-track album doesn't disappoint diehard fans, one wonders if this blueprint is fast approaching its expiration date. Much of what we find here can be found on Camp's last two albums. None of these songs here would be out of place with Camp's last couple of records. This is not to say that this is bad; it's just that it's so save that sometimes the songs can sound redundant.
Nevertheless, just as "Same Power" was the standout track off the previous album, this album's signature tune is "My Father's Arms." Flourishing with some pseudo-country-pop zinging guitar lines, the use of pregnant pauses, and a chorus with a hook as big as Texas, "My Father's Arms" contains the winning formula for being one of Camp's best efforts. While the title cut "The Answer," one of the few power ballads on the record, is to be shouted out for its Christ-saturated lyrics. Camp also panders towards CCM radio with the crisp and upbeat pop-centric "Word of Life" and chorus-crashing "My Defender." Both are passable but they all come from the same cloth: they are songs that start off soft but avalanches into a hefty percussion-driven chorus.
Then there are songs that ride upon cliché after cliché. The worst candidate in this department is "The Storm." Sure, the storm image is garnered from Scripture, but how many CCM writers have crafted songs out of it? Jeremy Camp joins the queue. But what's worse is that Camp adds nothing new or interesting to this "storm" rhetoric. "Tell the World" starts off on an autobiographical note where Camp sings about how God has helped him in his own journey, but he doesn't go into much specifics making the song sink very quickly into vanilla pool. "Love So Great" (not the Hillsong Worship song but a Camp original) finds Camp with a dance beat. The song is in fact quite catchy but the words are again far too generic.
"The Answer" does have some wonderful moments. But on the whole, the album sounds more tiresome rather than inspired. Perhaps Camp should ditch some of his co-writers and start off afresh with more challenging co-scribes. And it doesn't hurt to change the formula a bit. You don't always have to have a big percussion heavy chorus in every song.