> cMusicWeb.com > Pop > Steven Curtis Chapman > All About Love

Looking for something new? Our latest news and articles are at inReview.net

steven curtis chapman
[ all about love ]


advertise here





All About Love - Click to pre-order! Ah, Valentine's Day. That special day of the year to celebrate love. The day that couples frolic about holding hands, giving cheap flowers to each other, gorging themselves on chocolate, and doing just about every nauseating "lovey-dovey" thing couples can do. The day that the rest of us bitter, single people throw darts at pictures of our ex's and secretly pray that we find a valentine from some secret admirer in our mailboxes. Yet, as bitter and single as we are, God commands us to love whether we want to or not. How fitting then that Steven Curtis Chapman should write an entire album on the subject.

All About Love breaks away from traditional SCC records in that, first of all, every single song has something to do with love. Whether it's love for his wife ("How Do I Love Her?"), love for each other (title track), or love for God ("Moment Made for Worshipping"), you'll be hard-pressed to find any tracks about dancing with dinosaurs or playing Game Boy in the middle of the Grand Canyon. Secondly, Chapman's own wife, Mary Beth, shares credits with her husband and Brown Bannister as a producer (another sign of the apocalypse). Finally, All About Love is the first time - known to this writer - that Chapman has ever covered two secular songs on any of his projects. Track nine infuses a brilliant rock/pop modernism into The Proclaimers' hit from the 80s, "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)." Steven's version fits in comfortably in between "too contemporary for mainstream radio" and "too loud for AC radio," meaning it will probably never see the light of day outside of the CD. His edgy vocals keep the cut enjoyable, however, and the instrumentation is a breath of fresh air when compared to the 80s version. Ronnie Milsap's "I'll Take Care of You" shows Chapman posing as Frank Sinatra as his silky crooning floats along with the scaled-back percussion and feathery strings. It seems like the obvious choice for slow dancing (unless you're Baptist like me), and no doubt you'll hear it played in a chick flick sometime soon. Immediately following, Chapman actually covers himself by performing a newer rendition of "I Will Be Here." Thankfully, the upgrade does the song plenty of justice, making it ready to use at weddings for decades to come.

Minus the covers, the rest of All About Love is a mix of unoriginal fluff and truly inspired moments. "How Do I Love Her?" finds Steven pondering the ways in which he can show his wife his affection, blues style, while "11-6-64" is a sweet, folksy tribute to the date of her birth. The more progressive tracks "Your Side of the World" and "You've Got Me" are Chapman's attempts at rocking, and while they're certainly not Relient K, they are decent. "Your Side of the World" rekindles memories of Signs of Life, with a rhythm close to that of "Children of the Burning Heart," although "You've Got Me" is where this disc really pulls through. Heavier riffs work in unison with the throbbing drum loops and Chapman's keen voice as he pledges his love to Mary Beth for everyday of his life. Unfortunately, nothing's here that we haven't already heard; the title track is a severe disappointment in continuing the tradition of the driving, anthemic openers that SCC usually makes a radio hit out of (i.e. "Dive" and "Live Out Loud"). Cuts with high expectations such as "Echoes of Eden" and "We Will Dance" are saved only by the epic ballad "Holding a Mystery," a touching endearment to anyone who's ever loved a significant other. The peppy atmosphere set up by "We Belong Together" and "With Every Little Kiss" slowly chokes on unfavorable songwriting, and neither song scratches the surface of musical depth.

In short, All About Love climbs higher than Declaration ever did, but the subtraction of two or three tracks would have made this project stronger as a whole. The concept of writing an entire album about love fits Steven's repertoire nicely, even if it's a little different. Still, it's traditional Steven Curtis Chapman doing what he does best. Just don't expect any surprises, like valentines in your mailbox.
- Rick Foux
February 2003
Articles written by the staff.
Maintained by WebMaster Dan Ficker.
Site Design by da Man
All Material 1999-2005 Different Media LLC
Support cMusicWeb.com