Say it with boldness and grace!
Label: Centricity Music
Length: 13 songs/44 minutes
Say It by Jordan Feliz opens beautifully with a gospel choir, organ and hand claps uniting on the refrain, “We know, He’s coming back (we know, we know).” What a glorious start!
With the birth of Jesus music in the sixties, songs about the second coming of Christ were common. That trend seemed to fall out of favor some time ago. It’s refreshing to immediately find such a dynamic opening track on that subject. I can’t help feeling more hopeful ever time I hear it. It speaks to our time in the musical language of today, “When the world gets complicated/We gonna keep on celebrating, ’cause we know (yeah, we know)/Jesus is coming back, Jesus is coming back.” Strings jump for joy, pause, and leap again. It’s bold in an R&B/gospel context.
It reminds me of the lament of a late friend who suffered from mental illness. He came to faith in the Jesus movement, and once confided that he was discouraged about how seldom people spoke about the second coming and spiritual things in general. He was starving for fellowship.
If he was still here, I would want him to hear this song. He was a fan of Feliz’s early hit, “The River.”
“Next to Me” is driven by a thumping bass line accented by rock flourishes. “You put the “X” on my faded map,” Feliz sings, in apparent reference to the old phrase “X” marks the spot. “Draw me a line back to where you’re at;” not stated as a request but as something that God does. In other words, God marks the spot and reveals the way back.
“Wounds” is another fitting song for a time when so many have experienced some form of abuse. It’s a gentle piano ballad where the speaker asks, “Would you believe me if I said you’re not beyond repair?/Would you believe me if I told you that I’ve been right there?” The singer offers himself as proof that “His love heals wounds.” I can’t help thinking that many who have suffered from sexual predators may find comfort and encouragement in this song.
Just thinking about these first three tracks, you find themes of revival, repentance and restoration. Great companions and a beautiful way to start an album.
“Glorify” is bold with a strong gospel chorus and the sound of what might be a Hammond B3 organ. It’s what musicians like Steve Winwood and Bill Champlin play so well. Two extra versions of this track are included, one with Lecrae and Hulvey testifying in rap. The other features Toby Mac and Terrian. Each is a little different but anchored by the same powerful chorus.
I appreciate the confession in the “Real Me.”
I love me when I’m not me
I love me when I’m not me
Photoshop when I’m ugly
Autotune when I sing off key
Feliz is surely not alone in valuing his ideal self rather than the real one, which God sees and loves. The sentiments fit perfectly with an off-kilter rhythm driven by the percussion. Anyone struggling with a sense of failure might find comfort here.
“Only Love” is a song of deliverance that rocks with a picturesque opening line, “It’s a prison break/From the dark days I’ve wandered and waited.” I normally prefer the modern reference to the Spirit but like how the old English translation sounds in this line: “Heard the sound of walls coming down/I know it what the Holy Ghost.”
C. S. Lewis wrote, “If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.” That thought is enshrined in “Another World.” It’s an atmospheric mid-tempo longing for heaven.
I appreciate the bridge to the chorus on the title track.
I don’t mean to stress nobody out
But I won’t stand by and do nothin’
I don’t mean to bring nobody down
I hear a graciousness that is inviting. How we need more of it in our day. It’s more explanation than apology. “For Christ’s love compels us” (2 Corinthians 5:14a), the apostle Paul writes. Jeremiah says, “If I say, ‘I will not mention him, or speak any more in his name,’ than there is a burning fire in my bones, and I am weary of holding it in, and I cannot” (Jeremiah 20:9 ESV). Jordan Feliz application, “Say it!”
Aaron Cole’s rap blends seamlessly with the other vocals. The R&B resolve and voices blending on the high notes of the chorus make it seem resplendent with light.
No desire to offend, “just had to say it … If the name of Jesus ain’t lifted up, then who needs us.”