Release Date: July 15th 2014
Reviewed by: Jonathan Andre
- It is Well
- Have Everything
- Today is Beautiful
- Nothing Left
- Six (Waiting for Love)
‘…we, as humanity, do the same thing when we’re going on about our lives, [having meltdowns], and this little problem comes up. It irks us, and we focus on it so much that it becomes this huge ordeal that puts us in a state of misery that we can’t get over. We neglect to just lift our eyes and see that, in reality, we really are living in Disney World. We are in this place where we have a God who loves and cares about us and wants the best for us. If we can view that problem from His point of view, from an outside perspective, we can see it for what it is, just a stroller that our older sister won’t let us push. It might even be an opportunity for growth…’ The newest signing to BEC Recordings, home of artists like Jeremy Camp, Kutless, Citizens, 7eventh Time Down, Manafest, Dustin Kensrue and The Museum; David Dunn releases his first label offering, a 5 song EP titled Crystal Clear, on July 15th.
With David himself reminding us of how we ought to look at things from God’s point of view (in not just his song “Today is Beautiful” but throughout the rest of the EP as well); David Dunn’s introduction into making music with label backing is certain to be a bright one, after hearing Crystal Clear as I make it one of my favourite EP’s by a debut artist this year so far. Likening his vocals and style to that of Abandon, Matthew West or Josh Wilson; BEC Recordings is a great home for an artist that’s willing, expected and hopeful to test the boundaries and cross them- in terms of what people expect and assume CCM/pop/rock music to be currently. From the first single, to first track “It is Well” and EP ender “Waiting For Love”, David’s fervent enthusiasm and heart make Crystal Clear one of the most enjoyable pop/rock EP’s since Carrolton’s Breathe in Deep.
The first single from the album, “Today is Beautiful” marks a great way for David to return to music after his trip to Africa in 2013. With powerful acoustic guitars, hand claps, and a layered backing vocals to create a powerful anthemic feeling from the get-go; the song was picked to be the first single of the 5 tracks, written and recorded from a large pool of over 100 songs written over a 2 and a half year period- many of them in response to his own journey in Africa, of which he calls ‘…probably the biggest growth period of my life…’ A song that encourages us to see the beauty in life, even when the moments are as mundane as cleaning the house or making dinner each night; “Today is Beautiful” is a melody that gives us a sense of relief, release and realignment as we change our focus from our circumstances and ‘…lift your eyes, see it in a different light, just a cloud up in the open sky, let the rain, fall away cause today is beautiful…’, understanding that focus on God will allow us to set our sights on things that matter rather on the seemingly trivial things that seem to plague us on a daily basis. A song that anchors the album both musically and thematically; David extends his musical prowess to the remainder four tracks, making Crystal Clear one of the most ingenious EP’s by a new artist since The Walls Group’s Love on the Radio EP.
While I initially thought “It is Well”, the first song on the EP, was a cover of the famous hymn (and one of my favourites of all time); what it was actually was a beautifully crafted original song reminding us to be content in all circumstances, even in the times where we are troubled and can’t seem to make sense of what seems to be happening. A song to accompany the traditional “It is Well” as a modern counterpart, David utilises the musical landscape of string instruments and keyboard synths to convey the theme of how ‘…when my world comes crashing down around my head, and I feel like I have nothing left, woah, woah, I’m not in control, but it is well with my soul…’; which further continues in “Have Everything”, as the synth and electronics carry a melody full of soul, enthusiasm, pop and heart as David reminds us to give everything we have to the Lord.
Powerful chorus hooks of how ‘…You can have me, You can have everything, I am Yours, not holding on, I’ll do anything…it’s a new day, it’s a new dawn, I’ve found a place where I belong…’; we are reminded of why David Dunn and his music is so enjoyable and catchy. With a vocal delivery similar to Chad Mattson of Unspoken (particularly in this track); David continues to provide powerful themes, from loving each other with everything we have in the electronic-pop anthem “Nothing Left”, to the piano driven and the most CCM-like melody “Six (Waiting For Love)”, providing listeners with different scenarios where the persona had to wait for hope and love, in spite of the circumstances they were in. A song that will be my pick for second single, “Six (Waiting For Love)” is an encouragement in our lives, especially in scenarios where waiting on God is seemingly the last thing logic and reason are telling us!
‘…If you look around the world, the number one thing that people think about and talk about and exist to do are relationships. Most of the time if you’re willing to love somebody the way God intended, however, it’s going to be difficult, and you’re really opening up yourself to be squashed…’ David’s collection of five songs is great for a snapshot of what this BEC Recordings artist can do- if you really want a fuller picture, check out his 2012 album For the Life of Me prior to his signing (a full length album as well, one which I felt was a drawback on Crystal Clear). Despite the EP’s shortness, David has poured out his heart and soul in an EP that needs to deservingly given a period of time where we listen to the 5 tracks from first note to last melody. While David may not necessarily be the most eloquent or even unique CCM artist currently active right now, he does have emotion and courage that fits the BEC roster quite well. An EP that’ll be a standout amongst the label groups throughout 2014 so far; BEC Recordings have signed a fine artist that’ll only enhance their artist roster even more. Well done David for such an inspired and provoking EP!
3 songs to listen to: Waiting For Love, Today is Beautiful, It is Well
RIYL: Robbie Seay Band, Matthew West, Josh Wilson, for KING AND COUNTRY, Abandon