Prime Cuts: Making Me Stronger, Faithful Again, Honored, Exalted and Glorified
Overall Grade: 4.5/5
The Taylors are iconoclastic. They have a way of smashing stereotypes often associated with Southern Gospel music. On one hand, while most of their peers are baby boomers set in a rigid grid as to how music should sound, Jonathan, Suzanne, and Chris Taylor are Millennials with a youthful and innovative vigour invested in everything they put their voices to. On the other hand, the Taylors are also not your average theologically clueless youth band. Rather, having grown up as members of Fellowship Baptist Church where their father served as the pastor, the Taylors possess a seasoned thew that is reflected in their songs' lyrics and the way they nuanced each syllable with affection and forethought.
"Faithful Again" is the trio's third album for StowTown Records, following on the heels of two solid predecessors. "Faithful Again" picks up where their previous album "Hope and Healing" left off. While the former album dealt with hurts and healing as one walks through the valleys and hills of life, "Faithful Again" is a celebratory record. The project tells of God's faithfulness throughout the journey. And it gives articulation to the joy that comes with the dawning as darkness recedes.
Just as "Worship You Again" was to the last album, "Making Me Stronger" is to this album. An A+ power ballad crowned by the song's well-crafted melody and Suzanne's crystalline yet emotive vocals, "Making Me Stronger" is easily a signature song for the Taylors. Annealed by a season of trials, the title cut "Faithful Again" is a hymnic reflection on God's faithfulness. The jazzy piano that introduced "The Sweetest Name I know" is mesmerising as it transports us into a worshipful sphere that is a delight for the soul.
Suzanne Taylor brings a touch of Appalachian mountain music to Calvary in "Love Still Flows." While the boys pack quite a punch with the upbeat but a tad average "I Pray Everyday." In keeping with the album's thematic tenor, there are more celebrate worship tunes this time round. Majestic in its backing executions and puissant in their vocal displays, "Every Hallelujah" will be every choir master's top choice in the years to come. "Honored, Exalted and Glorified" finds the Taylors excelling in worship terrain with a soothing string-laden Jesus-exalting tune.
Maybe it's because they are vastly younger than most Southern Gospel quartets, The Taylors bring with them a vigour, energy, and freshness so missing in the genre. Despite having only 9 cuts, this album is in keeping with their stellar discography of heartfelt singing and (mostly) top-notched songs.