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Album Review: Sean C. Johnson – Grateful

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Disclaimer: All views presented in this Album Review are those of the album reviewer and not of DJ Wade-O.

The name Sean C. Johnson isn’t exactly a household name to me, but it is known enough that when I was given the project, I had a good idea of what I was going to be hearing. A lot of soul and a bit of riffing here and there, like a singer does. While doing my morning stretches, I took the time to listen to it for the first time, and to my surprise, when the EP had ended, I found myself emphatically saying “That’s it?! I want more!” Neo-Soul isn’t my normal avenue of musical choice, so I surprised myself by this burst of outrage at this being an EP instead of an LP. But, it is a very justified emotion. Allow me to explain what makes Grateful such a great project.

Concept

Anyone who has come to terms with the fact that their past isn’t great, and that Jesus gave his life to save us from the wrath of sin, can connect with the concept of gratefulness towards God. The five song EP has no concrete missteps in continuity and each song talks about a different reason to possess gratefulness. Listening to these songs made my soul sing along, and the way songs are written these days, that is not an easy feat.

My own cry of gratefulness to God arose as I listened to the song “Thirty (30).” Such deep and real song content is something that is missing in the body of Christ from singers, especially since it contains a perspective of interactions with our sex crazed world from a male and female perspective. It was so encouraging to hear. The only song that doesn’t directly link to gratefulness per se is “Shepherd Me,” but the continuity is not disrupted and it’s so good that you really don’t care that it doesn’t.

Artistry

Artists who stray away from generally understandable vehicles of displaying their art, for the sake of straying from the norm, don’t peak my interest. There are many singers who sing with unique styles, but may speak of their Christianity in a debatably cryptic sense for the sake of being really “artsy,” but this EP is not in that category. Grateful has a very open display of Sean’s faith. The flow of the songs are conversational, written in a style that often sounds like a believer praying to the Lord with transparency.

All of the songs were written in a relatable tone, the way Sean sings melodies along the tracks are just so good. Sean’s harmonies are so crisp and he knows how to use his range to keep a powerful stance in the songs. And that philly drag … you know the musician in me loved it. I couldn’t stop nodding my head through most of this project, ESPECIALLY when I first heard his Neo-Soul version of “Silver and Gold.” I gave the illest stank face when I heard the beat with the bass line (my musicians know what I’m talking about.).

Conclusion

If you’ve never taken the time to get to know who Sean C Johnson is, let this be the project that is your introduction to him. It’s five songs, and totally not enough in my opinion, but they are a really great group of five songs. It’s a downloadable project and well worth the free.99 that it costs. I highly recommend adding this project to your rotation, no matter what musical style you normally listen to. Grateful has a message and vibe that everyone can listen to and enjoy.

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Daniel Cody is the engineer for the Wade-O Radio podcast and producer of The Life Change radio program for 4th Generation Ministries. He has a Bachelors Degree in Music Production & Record Engineering. He has a passion for authentic rap about the Gospel and collaborates with all genres of Christian music with his production company - Man of God Productions. Follow him on Twitter @DRoyulMOG.

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