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Album Review: SPZRKT – Bonfire

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

I find that when I say the name SPZRKT (pronounced Spazzy Rocket), you get one of two responses: One is repetition – “SPZRKT? What does that mean?” And two is praise – “Oh yea, homie is dope.”

With his official debut album Bonfire, Spazz looks to eliminate one of the the responses to his name altogether. He has already had a slew of mixtapes and EPs, which have garnered him notoriety within the CHH genre – grabbing features and placements with some top names in CHH. But to not be pigeonholed into one specific style of writing, and to show his diverse range of artistic ability, SPZRKT purposely focuses on different topics in his songs from project to project. With Bonfire, it feels like SPZRKT wants all listeners, whether they’ve been at a bonfire or not, to understand what it’s like to be around one. It is also a vehicle to express his views on the many forms of love.

The Atmosphere of the Bonfire

When listening to this album, while Spazzy is singing the entire time, you can imagine a group of people sharing their own personal stories of life, as the songs transition through the project. That communion around the fire draws out the deepest thoughts of each person. The sharing of thoughts, which offer a solace of a safe environment and confidence of a judgement free zone – opens you up to be transparent and to talk about things on your mind. Each song is able to be placed in what I call the “Stages of the Bonfire”.

When people congregate around a bonfire, it’s a place of relaxation, fun, happiness, reflection, and even introspection. It’s a place where love can thrive, happiness can swell, and deep conversation about personal hurts can be resolved. There is something about being in that atmosphere that brings out truths that we sometimes put away and ignore during everyday life. And of course, being out in the natural elements can be some of the strongest times of communion with the Lord.

Bonfire is an album that comes from that atmosphere. The album is more than just a collection of songs you can play around the fire, but the heart of the songs are formed from the “bonfire” type of atmosphere. You can tell this from the intro track “Share The World” – a song about companionship and community between people who are different by nature – an occurrence that is naturally fostered in moments around the fire.

Once you establish that unique camaraderie around the fire, you go around and ask people what they’re thinking about, and there is always the topic of relationships, the good and the bad. Whether it’s a woman who doesn’t see her worth and needs to be reminded in “Insecure”, or a guy who is on the brink of giving up on his girl, only to come to the realization that he wants to stay with her in “Reassurance”, you can almost guarantee it’s going to come up once. And if you stay around long enough, you get to reach the top of that emotional high that comes from that atmosphere. It’s the place where joy, realization, and happiness all meet to create this unique elation towards life. Many want to describe it as nirvana, but those who know The Lord know where that joy comes from. You can let your spirit run free in His presence, there’s so much of his love you might “Drown”; Some might even say that you’re “LIT”.

Now, back in reality, this image is a device for SPZRKT to talk about love from many different angles. I thought it was a cool idea to use a fairly recognizable place of community to draw as a muse for this album. All types of things come up at bonfire’s but rarely is it anything negative, and for a guy who has wrote some songs on the “sadder” side in the past, this was the perfect thing to allow him room to express the other sides of his art.

Music of the Bonfire

When you’re around a bonfire, most music that is sung can be sung by all. SPZRKT is very good at writing hooks that are easy to learn. Whether you can sing as high as he can or not is another story, but you can learn the words quickly. A majority of the choruses have a groove that automatically make you want to sing along. But even better than SPZRKT’s vocals are the tracks. You can hear that great quality production was put in by Cardec Drums, Swade, Elhae, and Tyshane to produce a quality record.

The sounds vary from modern hip hop to pop without losing any of its industry standard intensity. The blending was great and it allowed you to really sink into the songs as they played. You can press play, turn up the volume, and jam along through the entire thing. Some of the standout tracks include “Change It All” – a very fun dance track, “LIT” – that ‘turn up’ track, “Till Death” – a soulful song about deep love, and “Bonfire” – a song that is full of percussive energy, and as it grows, you can imagine the participants of the bonfire dancing along to it around the fire. The sounds are diverse while also being what you’d expect from SPZRKT. And even though you expect it from Spazz, it has risen to another level of quality.

Conclusion

Bonfire is a musical gem. Once you pinpoint where SPZRKT is coming from, you’re able to really enjoy the music. The great production combined with Spazzy’s smooth vocals gives it playback value with no track skipping potential. As stated before, many of the songs match the -Stages of the Bonfire-, allowing each song to be expressed to its fullest potential. SPZRKT’s talent and skills have shown to be in stronger form through this debut album. There is nothing like being able to connect with people, share love and good times around the Bonfire. SPZRKT was able to do just that.

SPZRKT’s Bonfire is currently available for purchase on iTunes. 

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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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