Thursday, 22 December 2016

ALBUM OF THE WEEK: Kirk Franklin’s latest serves up powerful songs of prayer and praise

LOST & FOUND: LMR brings out the lyrical maestro in the gospel icon.

For over two decades and counting, Kirk Franklin has been blessing gospel music lovers with songs that lift the spirit and soothe the soul. Along the way, albums like the Nu Nation Project, Rebirth and Hero have morphed into classics, and he’s picked up almost every major award you can think of. 

Four years since his last full-length release, Hello Fear, Franklin seems to be in a different place artistically and spiritually, and he candidly, unflinchingly shares the testimony on Losing My Religion (RCA/Fo Yo Soul Records), a melodic 13-track triumph.

A nominee for Best Gospel Album at the upcoming 59th Grammy Awards ceremony, the disc comes laced with refreshing perspectives on humanity and Christian living and finding joy in the midst of the storm. In other words, while the iconic singer-songwriter has renewed his vision, his mega-sized capacity for well-crafted ballads and empowering anthems is as potent as ever.

Overall, you are treated to a coherent, tuneful listening experience that mixes urban contemporary grooves with some R&B flavour. Tracks like “Wanna Be Happy?” deliver a sturdy yet heartfelt message. “123 Victory” puts you in a praise-and-worship frame of mind, while “My World Needs You” gets memorable contributions from Tasha Cobbs, Tamela Mann and Sarah Reeves. Lalah Hathaway and Kim Burrell make guest appearances on “When.”

But the album’s best moments include the pleading, self-explanatory “Pray for Me” and the prayerful, beautifully rendered “Intercession”, which will move you to tears.

Easily earning a spot among the top five of his 12 albums, Losing My Religion proves that veteran acts like Franklin never shed their creative powers or lose that classic touch. Tyrone’s Verdict: A

BEST TRACKS: “Intercession,” “123 Victory” and “Wanna Be Happy?”

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