Prime Cuts: Lovestruck, Let My Light So Shine, Be That kind
Overall Grade: 4.5/5
The major talking point of this record is that Zane and Donna King have a way with spurning a great melody. One thing you can't say about these 10 tracks is that they are devoid of memorable tunes. Rather, than resorting to the latest polytechnics or hippiness, they have worked overtime to ensure that each tune on this record is strong enough to register in our minds and hearts. In today's musical culture, this is a fleet that deserves multiple standing ovations. And rather than be domesticated by a certain genre, the couple have wisely utilized Southern Gospel, 90s-styled country, bluegrass and Americana to their advantage. Thus, you will find a variegated style running right through this album, making the listening experience doubly enjoyable.
"Beautiful Ever After" is the couple's follow-up disc to their 2014 release "Mile Marker One." And like their predecessor, save for one track, the songs all have a Midas touch from either Zane or/and Donna. "Hallelujah and Amen" is the perfect opener. Punchy, flowing, and Christ-focused, the song is made even more delightful with the incessant fiddle playing and effervescent banjo licks. Donna sounds so angelic as she sets her crystalline soprano to worship on the ultra-catchy "Let My Light So Shine." Though titling towards the side of the maudlin, Donna resurrects the old hymn "In the Garden" surrounding it with newly composed hedges that is not bad.
One of the strength of this record is the Kings' penchant to bring out the alluring beauty of Jesus. With "Be That Kind," Jesus not only is lyrically depicted with such captivating delight, but the melody is simply pure bliss. This continues with "Lovestruck." "Lovestruck" could have easily come to us via a time machine from the 90s, the era where story songs flourished. Stringing together stories from the scriptures of how men and women have been "lovestruck" by Jesus, this is a reminder how powerful story-songs are. Though not as poignant, "It takes Jesus" also gives articulation to the mission of Jesus in ways that are relatable and heartfelt.
Zane takes the lead vocally on the testimonial "God of Every Moment," which is prided for its heart rendering lyrics: "He's the God of joy and sorry, the God of love and loss, the God of suffering and healing, the God of the cross, the God of the tomb, standing empty and open. He is God, God of every moment." Even more personal is their take of Brad Paisley and Dolly Parton's #1 hit "When I Get Where I'm Going." Though this song has been around for some time, its message of hope still shines like a beacon in the night.
Zane and Donna King have once again proven that the merits of a record lies not so much in its hype or technicalities. Rather, strong melodies with three dimensional lyrics that hit the heart and imaginations are what ace this album. If you want songs that are melodically strong with words that come alive, check out "Beautiful Ever After."