Prime Cuts: Reason, You've Always Been, Let It Be Love
Overall Grade: 4/5
Unspoken did not check their brains at the door when they make "Reason." On this new 12-song album, this pentad has brilliantly given us some food for thought by engaging in theological themes often neglected by most CCM artists. Issues such as apologetics ("Reason"), the depravity of human beings and the grace of God ("Human Condition"), the particularity of God's love ("You've Always Been") are not generally topics expounded across the swath of today's CCM. Yet in the hands of Unspoken, not only are they adequately elucidated but they are crafted along melodies that are contemporary without a hint of stoicism. Their soulful pop-centric sound has never sounded better, thanks to the creative input of famed producers Tedd T. (for KING & COUNTRY) and Chris Stevens (tobyMac).
"Reason," the title cut, is a must-hear. With clappy percussions and the gentle nudging of the acoustic guitars working in concert with Unspoken, the song helps us to see God's presence all around us. Not only is this song a comfort for a troubled soul, but it's great apologetics in action. Current single "You've Always Been" thrives on the song's attention paid to its details. Heart hitting lines such as "biggest planets turn to pebbles when You speak" and "when in pride I think I'm worthy, You point out the price You paid" abound. Never ones to color within the lines, the haunting "Let it Be Love" will certainly ruffled some feathers. In our social climate of hatred and divisions, "Let It Be Love" applies 1 Corinthians 13 by echoing the Apostle Paul's message that most important attribute we need to display in such a melee is love. Vermillion love that reflects the blood of Jesus shed for us on the Cross.
"Can't Even Love Myself" is another song that deserves widespread circulation. In our self-help culture where we are expected to pull up our moral bootstraps, "Can't Even Love Myself" takes the great reformation doctrine of grace alone and makes it so palatable that even a high schooler can understand. On a similar lyrical trajectory but set on a jaunty pace with interesting snap drums is the interesting "Human Condition." "If We Only Knew" puts the boys into the big balladry arena which is passable without being great. The same can be said about the orotund sounding pop-centric "Help is on the Way." Better is the soulful "Just Give Me Jesus" quipped with a Gospel choir.
Unspoken's "Reason" is not just an album made for the ears. Rather, it's aimed for both the ear and mind. Never ones to shy away from the pressing issues facing the average person, they take them and creatively address them in ways that are fresh, understandable and in many cases "cool."