Release Date: July 29th 2016
Reviewed by: Jonathan Andre
Danny Gokey– La Esperanza Frente a Mi (iTunes/Amazon mp3)
- La Esperanza Frente a Mi (Hope in Front of Me)
- Soy Más De Lo Que Piensas (More Than You Think I Am)
- Que Tu Corazon Vuelva a Latir (Tell Your Heart to Beat Again)
- La Joya Más Especial (Better Than Gold)
- Una Vida (One Life)
- Este Es El Milagro (This is What it Means)
- El Amor Rompe Barreras (Love Will Take You Places)
- Llega Al Límite (Take it To The Limit)
- Más Que Hermosa (Pretty Beautiful)
- Es Por Ti (Because of You)
- Nada Está Terminado (It’s Not Over)
- Que Tu Corazón Vuelva a Latir (Tropical Remix)
- La Esperanza Frente a Mi (Salsa Remix)
Over the last few years, Danny Gokey has been one of CCM’s most underrated male vocalists of the last few years, and ever since his breakout CCM album Hope in Front of Me that released in the middle of 2014, Danny has been giving us a myriad of radio hits, from songs like “Hope in Front of Me”, “More Than You Think I Am” and the promotional hit “Love Will Take You Places”, to the heartfelt “Tell Your Heart To Beat Again”. American Idol finalist, and quite possibly one of the most underrated vocalists of this generation (across both Christian and mainstream music genres); Danny’s story of how he lost his first wife Sophia just mere weeks before his American Idol audition, and his resolve to continue on his journey towards hope and encouragement, has touched many listeners of his music, so much so that his new single, “Tell Your Heart To Beat Again”, has become one of Danny’s most popular songs, ever. Now 2 years after the successful Hope in Front of Me, and his EP Tell Your Heart to Beat Again earlier during the year, Danny has released a new full length album…and it is La Esperanza Frente a Mi, which, after some investigation, is actually Hope In Front of Me re-recorded in Spanish. Quite possibly of the albums that took me by surprise (in a good way) way back in 2014, it seems fitting to release a Spanish version of the album, considering the vast amount of Latin American, Mexican and Spanish people calling America home.
I have reviewed albums of another language before. Uw Naam, Paul Baloche’s Dutch album full of radio hits that spanned across the years of his career, released last year, and while I didn’t understand a word of Dutch, I still enjoyed the songs very much…I guess it really helped to know all the lyrics of all the Paul Baloche songs in English prior to listening to Uw Naam. So…what can I say about La Esperanza Frente a Mi? Well, for starters, lovers of the Spanish language can appreciate the album much more than me. Nevertheless, the fact that I knew Danny’s previous album inside out made this album much more easier to listen to…if I didn’t know any of the songs in its original translation, then that would’ve been a worry. Still, Danny’s passion still oozes out of each song with fervent urgency and poignant honesty.
Reworked songs “Tell Your Heart to Beat Again”, “More Than You Think I Am”, “This is What It Means” and “Love Will Take You Places” are still as enjoyable as ever. The title track, never straying from the original, offers listeners with hope, and we’re reminded, through the English translation, that ‘…there’s hope in front of me, there’s a light, I can see it, there’s a hand holding me even when I don’t believe it, I might be down but I’m not dead, there’s better days still up ahead, even after all I see, there’s hope in front of me…’ The ambiguity of the lyrics in who they’re singing about is the beauty of it- it can be applied in so many situations and so many people that God can still influence through this song, even when it is played to someone who may know nothing about Christ. The fact that there is no mention of Jesus in the track is what I reckon has worked for not only the song but for the album as well. We are reminded that just because there is no mention of ‘Jesus’ doesn’t mean the album is less ‘Christian’ than the other worship albums released, and this is very true of Hope In Front of Me and its counterpart La Esperanza Frente a Mi. The universal appeal is what I reckon God will use for His glory as listeners hear the positivity of the album and start to wonder why such an album is so bright, uplifting and inspirational in a world of hurt and despair. The Spanish speaking community will thoroughly enjoy this album, as will fans of Danny and his previous music. Since I fell into the second category, I jumped at the chance at reviewing La Esperanza Frente a Mi, even though my Spanish is very very rusty (I only learnt Spanish in high school for about a year or two, and that was over 10 years ago).
Hard at work in the studio for his new album release later on in 2016, this Spanish re-release of Hope in Front of Me is just a reminder of how much Danny’s passion and enthusiasm is something that isn’t necessarily common in not just the CCM industry, but in the mainstream industry as well. When we see the story of Danny since his American Idol audition until now, we see God’s hand guiding him through, and that is evident in this collection of 13 tracks (there are 11 songs on Hope in Front of Me, in this Spanish counterpart, track 12 and 13 are remixes of ‘Tell Your Heart to Beat Again’ and ‘Hope in Front of Me’ respectively, though both these tracks seemingly feel out of place on the album…). La Esperanza Frente a Mi is a great album if you want to hear more of Danny and his songs (though in another language) before his album release in November 2016. Well done Danny for such passionate songs, even though I may not understand that much. Here’s hoping this album reaches the Spanish community, and encourages them in their walk with Jesus.
3 songs to listen to: Soy Más De Lo Que Piensas, Que Tu Corazon Vuelva a Latir, El Amor Rompe Barreras
RIYL: Jason Crabb, Phil Stacey, Matthew West, Mark Schultz, Jonathan Thulin