Prime Cuts: If You Only Knew, He's the One, Lord You're So Good
Many reviewers are not inoculated against the "emperor has no clothes" syndrome. In an effort to create a positive spin on a paltry song, the reviewer has a tendency to wax eloquence on the slickness of the song's production or the verbosity of its lyrics, but yet eschew what is the most obvious: the song has no melodic structure to begin with. And sadly examples of such songs abound in every genre of music. You can put a song on repeat until the zenith time, but it still doesn't have the sonic hook to hang itself onto our memory banks. Thus, regardless of the artist's emotional investment into the song or the producer's intricate fine tuning of the instruments, if a song has no discernible melody, it will be easily forgotten within a few plays.
This is not the case with Soul'd Out Quartet's much anticipated Crossroads release "Great Life." If there's one thing to say about this album, it's that every song is memorable distinct and they have hooks big enough to draw us into God's presence incessantly. Soul'd Out began as a trio in Georgetown, Ohio in 2001. Founding member Matt Rankin felt to call to evangelize by taking God's Word through songs to the ends of the earth. In 2004, they added bass singer Matt Fouch into the line-up forming an all male quartet now known as the Soul'd Out Quartet. After winning both the Singing News Fan Award for Horizon Group of the Year and SoGospelnews.com's Breakthrough Artist Award, Soul'd Quartet has been a main stay in Southern Gospel music. Now they are back with "Great Life" which is the much anticipated follow-up to 2012's "What the World Doesn't Know."
"Great Life" takes a major departure from what we have come to expect from most Southern Gospel music releases. Instead of resurrecting old hymns and tied-and-true chestnuts, Matt Rankin has taken the liberty to craft all of these 10 cuts himself from bar one. And the reward is most handsomely displayed on the propulsive toe-tapper title cut "What a Great Life." Sunny in its disposition and rollicking in its melodic flow, "What a Great Life" brings out the beauty of the Christian life without any a single ounce of pretense. Weaving in the old chorus "God is So Good" seamlessly into the newly tailored "Lord, You're So Good" adds a ring of familiarity that makes worshipping along with this song even more charming.
Nevertheless, the beauty of these songs is not just in their flowing and gripping melodies. Rather, if you are looking for songs hefty with theological meat, take a listen to "He's the One." Sweeping through redemption history as revealed in Scripture, "He's the One" tracks through how Christ has been foretold way back in the Old Testament. Similarly Christ-besotted is "If You Only Knew;" this song takes a nose dive for the heart as the Quartet unveils their heart's cry for the lost. And if you are looking for those Kingsmen-styled four part harmonies in their most glorious and dynamic display, the anthemic "The Answer is the Cross" surely won't disappoint.
With such a variety of styles and with lyrics that encompass the whole gamut of the Gospel, it's amazing that all of these songs come from just one pen. Thus, if you are looking for an album with no filler tracks where every song is distinctly memorable, give Soul'd Out Quartet's "Great Life" a listen.