Prime Cuts: The 99, I Have Decided, Eyes on You
Overall Grade: 3/5
7eventh Time Down has been around the block since 2011. Throughout the history of the band, they have never felt the urge to deviate from the Gospel. While many of their peers have veered into inspirational pop territory where God is veiled under the generic "he" and the Gospel is watered down into a feel-good empowerment message, 7eventh Time down has been steadfast in the proclamation of their faith. "Brand New Day," the band's fourth release with BEC Recordings, doesn't disappoint either. The boys have no qualms in making it crystal clear the it is Jesus that they are singing about. And they are not coy in delving into the deeper issues of the fish, including commitment ("I Have Decided"), regeneration ("Let Me Tell You"), sin and our lostness ("The 99") and our need to be saved ("Brand New Day").
Being their first album in almost 4 years, the guys are back with a rejuvenated robust verve. On "I Have Decided," for instance, the team sounds so animated that you swear they are about to jump out of the speakers. Discipleship has never sounded more fun and urgent. And such passion reaches its zenith on the title cut "Brand New Day," a rowdy anthem that has every polytechnics (including auto tuning) thrown in. "Eyes on You," with its bubbly pop melody, has an affecting nostalgic 90s boybands throwback feel. "The 99" is arguably the album's best song. Setting to music Jesus' parable of the lost sheep, "The 99" is a powerful depiction of God's love for the lost.
However, the album is not devoid of weaknesses. First, a song like "Trust" is what gives CCM a bad name. Not only is the song stringed together by cliches, but the lyrics are frankly juvenile: "you love me and I love you/you are for me and I believe you." Second, there's a lack of originality. Jesus told over 30 parables. Cory Asbury has recently set to music the parable of the lost sheep with "Reckless Love." As fine as "The 99" is, why can't 7eventh Time Down choose a different parable? Also, not too long go Hillsong Worship utilise the hymn "I Have Decided" as the seed thought to their song "Christ is Enough." Are there no other hymns that 7eventh Time Down can use as the impetus for their song "I Have Decided"?
Third, the album is heavily pop-centric with aggressive guitars, booming percussion and punctuated synth riffs, there's nothing wrong with that. But over the 10 songs they hardly deviate from the same template. This makes the listening experience tedious if you plan on listening to the album straight through. Though "Brand New Day" isn't perfect, the blame shouldn't be solely placed on 7eventh Time Down, such problems are prevalent over the entire CCM genre.