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SING (2002)
Sing - Click to view!There was a time in my life when I thought that contemporary Christian music was the world. My first music purchase (not counting a Smoky Mountain Hymns cassette that never really charmed me) was Michael W. Smith's Change Your World. Soon after that, I discovered Steven Curtis Chapman and greedily devoured all of his music that I could lay my hands on. That infatuation was interrupted a couple of years later when I discovered the world of Christian rock. My journey didn't stop there, thankfully, and over the last several years I've moved out of the Christian music subculture and into a brave new world that is growing brighter and more beautiful every day.

These days the ratio of secular to Christian music in my CD collection is pretty even, and most of my favorite Christian CDs aren't easily found in Jesus junk stores. I don't say that to boast of my superior taste; quite frankly, I know my tastes need a lot of growth, and I look forward to what I'll be listening to five years from now. My intention is merely to point out that I've been growing up and growing out, and that has brought a lot of change along with a lot of new CD's.

And that brings us to the topic of this review.

Aaron Spiro, as well-intentioned as he is, epitomizes all that I've left behind in contemporary Christian music. As is typical of Sparrow's releases, his debut effort Sing is slick ear candy and displays the production skills of well-known producers: Charlie Peacock and Jacquire King. Both of them deserve the respect and accolades they've received over the years, and they inevitably shine through on this project; however, their work isn't enough to save Sing from the "trade-in" pile.

Sing is, quite frankly, your typical contemporary Christian music album. It contains your praise anthems ("Sing"; "You Are the One"), your inspirational songs ("The Weight Is Gone"; "Pray Like Breathing"), your prayerful reflections ("Thrill"; "Beautiful"), and finally, your heartfelt album closer ("Let the Hallelujahs Cover You"). Forgive me if I sound cynical, but the flow of this album is as formulaic as an algebraic equation, and the lyrical content is no different than anything else you may hear on your local Christian radio station. Is this a sin? No. But it makes for a listening experience that is less than joyful.

Some will likely label me a snob, others will call me insensitive, and still others will think that I'm a blundering idiot who hasn't a clue what he's talking about. To them I offer my apologies. If you're one of the fans who bought this album and loved it, I'm glad you enjoyed it. All I ask is that you come back to me in five years and tell me what you think of it then. That is, if you haven't forgotten about it already.
- Jason Ewert
February 2004
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