Release Date: February 10th 2015
Reviewed by Joshua Andre
- Vice And Virtue
- Thank You
- The Story (Spoken Word)
One of today’s most eclectic and diverse musical artists, Jimmy Needham has blended pop, r&b, jazz, soul, gospel, motown and funk all together over all of his albums since 2006, in a genre that is so unique that it literally demands attention. His collaborations with rappers Lecrae and Trip Lee being the standout moments of his career; Jimmy’s album Clear The Stage in 2012 was one of the most musically diverse and creative records of that year, and still holds up three years later compared to albums released this year so far and last year. The new album from Jimmy, titled Vice And Virtue, releasing on Platinum Pop, doesn’t hit stores and digital outlets until May 5th, however Jimmy has unveiled a short set of three songs this week, called Vice And Virtue EP, and let me tell you, it’s a real treat, and deserves multiple listens! May 5th can’t come soon enough, with Jimmy’s full length album sharing a release date with anticipated albums from Audio Adrenaline, Plumb and Fireflight!
The title track of the EP, as well as the title track of the album, opens proceedings, and immediately from the get-go, Jimmy isn’t holding anything back musically and lyrically. Relaying about the fact that he struggles with his ‘vices’ as he holds onto his ‘virtues’, Jimmy reminds us that even on our best days, we struggle with sin everyday, as the devil tries to grab our attention even on the days we believe we are invincible. As the title of the song outlines that vices and virtues can sometimes occur at once, we are reminded about the warpedness of this world, and the realisation occurs that we need Jesus, as Jimmy passionately declares that ‘…I’m close to sleep without you, don’t want to be without you, can’t even breathe without you, help me, yeah, on my own without you, oh, I’m alone without you, there ain’t no hope without you, help me, yeah…’. With a soul/funk/jazz atmosphere led by percussion, a groovy bass line and brass instruments, Jimmy has done it again with an explosive and powerful opener! While the synth led reggae inspired laid back melody “Thank You” expresses Jimmy’s gratitude and thanks for God being who He is and for what He has done in our lives; it is the EP closer that kicks the whole listening experience up a notch and really impresses me, having my excitement for the full length album grow in leaps and bounds.
There’s nothing really to talk about on “The Story (Spoken Word)” that would fully explain how much I love this ‘song’, or piece of art, should I say. Except that any words that I do say would be far less that what I really think about the song. Amazing, revelatory, mind-boggling, impressive, fantastic, brilliant, these few words are just paint a bit of the picture of what Jimmy is portraying. Telling the gospel story in 6 minutes through rhyme, free verse, poetry and other metaphors, Jimmy eloquently and majestically speaks across soft synth, strumming acoustic guitar and light percussion, reminding me of Carman’s story songs. If there is one song you must listen to this year, Jimmy’s spoken word track is it; well done Jimmy for a seamless and enjoyable EP that has me wanting more!
Is May 5th here yet? I reckon Vice & Virtue will be in my top 30 albums of 2015, and I absolutely cannot wait for Jimmy to wow us again like he always has. Relevant, confronting yet also respectful and unobtrusive, Jimmy Needham shows us a couple of short but impacting jazz/pop tunes and a ‘melody’ outside of his genre, showing us his versatility. Since moving off Inpop Records and now moving onto Platinum Pop; this new batch of songs is a new beginning that I look most forward to, as Jimmy walks in the path God has placed him on. Well done Jimmy for recording an EP full of hope, truth and life. Praying that many lives are blessed by your music!
3 songs to listen to: All of them!
RIYL: Unspoken, Chris August, newworldson, Ginny Owens, Dara Maclean