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I Was Made For
Artist: Big Daddy Weave
Label: Fervent Records
Time: 11 tracks/47:33
Available: July 26, 2005
In their third release Big Daddy Weave rock more than they ever have before. They start fast with the title song and hardly slow down until the last two songs.
What hasnít changed is the emphasis that "a moment by moment relationship with God is what we were made for." Almost every song addresses God directly. Words like "Itís not about me / Itís all about you / Itís not about my pride / Itís all about Your truth" may be familiar, but they are a welcome reminder that "Jesus, itís all about You."
Two special guests highlight a couple of songs. Label mates and the increasing popular BarlowGirl lend their vocal talents to the hit radio song "Youíre Worthy of My Praise." Though itís a familiar song, the production and the vocal tradeoffs give the song new life.
The funk infused "Killing Me Again" features special guest Fred Hammond. The song is about addiction, and Hammond comes in on the chorus as the voice of God, "When I see you running away, it makes me want to cry / When I see you reminding me of the day I had to die / Donít you know that in my heart, I still can feel the pain / because when I see you, itís like killing me all over again."
One of the unique aspects of Big Daddy Weaveís sound is their occasional use of saxophone. It works well and is not overdone.
The beautiful, U2-sounding "Without You" slows the tempo leading into the last song. "Words of Life" is a song about quieting oneself to hear God speak. Listeners are then given the opportunity to do that with a five-minute track of silence that closes out the recording.
Fans of Big Daddy Weave will welcome this recording along with those who like modern pop/rock with lyrics that encourage and build up believers in their faith. The tight band sound and crisp production have taken their music to a new level. Though I have only heard them a few times before, this sounds like their best work.
Big Daddy Weave's made a pretty big name for itself in the Christian marketplace. A handful of radio hits, solid record sales, and the ultimate Catch-22 of recognition--a nomination for New Artist of the Year at the Dove Awards--certainly a great way to snatch the attention of the slice-sized Christian subculture of the music industry orange, but also a show renowned by many for its celebration of mediocrity.
A folk-rock act with pop authority in the past, for its third outing the band switches to a folk-pop act with rock authority. Louder guitars and slick production gives _What I Was Made For_ the fetching crunch and glossy sheen of any number of rockstar acts already touting the sound.
These five gents clearly have a one-track mind as far as their music is concerned. Each song centers on one of three variations of a single branching theme--I need God, I love God, and you need Him and need to love Him, too. There's not a problem with that in the least; where problems do arise is in how the band handles and presents these themes. They are popular subjects to sing about, so to add impact to their music, they needed to do something with their sound and/or write of the subjects in a way that would set them apart from contemporaries; instead, the band seems to have gone out of their way to make songs that sound like everyone else. Lines like "It's not about you / It's all about me," covers of popular contemporary worship songs, and lyrical narratives from a God's-point-of-view perspective of a runaway sinner carry almost no weight at all. Mixed with pop melodies that shout familiarity, the record quickly loses almost all of its flavor and lasting appeal after one or two listens. There are moments where the band gets down and splashes their songcraft with a little funk--they're entertaining moments, but too few and far between to save the record from mediocrity.
How much more impacting would the band be if it took its experiences, and presented them in a way that truly set Big Daddy Weave apart from the crowd? The Bible encourages us to sing a new song to the Lord, but unfortunately, too many popular and up-and-rising Christian acts choose to recycle old ideas for the sake of accessibility. The friendliness of Big Daddy Weave's sound probably ensures wide-ranging base appeal, but the lack of uniqueness may not keep the recording interesting in the long run.
Jonathan Avants 6/15/05