Sunday, November 6, 2011

Montell Jordan/Victory World Music: Shake Heaven Review


You know him from the blockbuster mainstream radio singles “This is How We Do It” and “Let’s Ride,” but earlier this year, Montell Jordan released “Shake Heaven,” the new single featuring stellar vocals from Beckah Shae. And now Victory World Music, the church at which Montell Jordan is a worship leader, releases their new project tiled after the popular single. And though you might be expecting another typical worship project from a church worship band, that is not the case. The diversion of races stirred with the eclectic mix of genres makes for a project that will turn your idea of worship upside-down, and teach you what worship really is – a lifestyle of sacrifice to our God, not a particular genre of music.

The soft, electronic “Yeshua” opens up the Shake Heaven album, speaking of the power of the name of Yeshua, and the fact that we are now called to preach the gospel to every creature under heaven. Beckah Shae also appears in this opening track, most notably over the verse, where her vocals were simply stunning. The more upbeat dance/pop “Let’s Go” speaks of being a blessing to God by getting up and dancing for Him. It’s quite fun musically, and definitely has an excellent message that is lacking in most Christian music.

Beckah Shae again appears in the strong title-track speaking of shaking heaven through out loud praises to our God. This time, she is a little more predominant in the track with her supportive vocals over the chorus, and it’s very easy to see why Beckah Shae fans have fallen in love with this single. The catchy and repetitive bass notes are very enjoyable as well. Electronic beats and effects make up “The One,” which also features gospel singer Martha Munizzi in a song of praise to God for saving us and giving us new life in Him.

Beautiful pianos and echoing drums beats compose the more worshipful “Mountains,” a powerful reminder that when things go wrong, we can look to the mountains where our help comes from. It also builds very strongly by the end, making it all the more powerful. “Hungry” follows suite, very still, craving more of God and seeking to be shaped after God’s own heart.

Outstanding harmonies, overlapping vocals, and steady drums make “Breathe” a standout, and one of my personal favorites from the project. “These Hands” is innovative, speaking of how the same hands that hung the planets in the universe also hold us, while “You Are” remains on the slower side of things. It’s actually cool to know that Montell actually wrote this track to his wife, but revamped it for this album to be a love song to God, and Christian Lewis’s vocals fit the part well.

“Lifter of My Head” is encouraging, reminding us once again, that God will be with us through the hard times of life, while  “When I See You” offers a bit of a hip-hop sentiment, speaking of the unapproachable glory of God. “Usable,” mostly piano, is a half song/ half prayer that God would make us usable to Him and help us not to be afraid of following the call He has placed on our life. And lastly, the surprisingly upbeat “F.L.H.” is a hidden track that features Byron “Mr. Talkbox” Chambers,” speaking of the “friends, liars, and heirs.”

The genre blend of Victory World Music is unbelievable! Shake Heaven is an album that those who love to worship God, but aren’t particularly fond of today’s defined worship genre will definitely want to pick up. R&B, pop, contemporary and more are all combined for this album, but it’s worshipful and heart-felt nevertheless! In addition, fans of Beckah Shae will probably love this project, both for the genre and for her special appearances.

Rating: 3.5/5
Release date: November 8, 2011

1. Yes You Are (Yeshua) (feat. Beckah Shae)
2. Let’s Go
3. Shake Heaven (feat. Beckah Shae)
4. The One (feat. Martha Munizzi)
5. Mountains
6. Hungry
7. Breathe
8. These Hands
9. You Are
10. Lifter of My Head
11. When I See You
12. Usable
13. F.L.H. (feat. Byron “Mr. Talkbox” Chambers) (hidden track)

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