Dream Label Group
Release Date: July 27th 2018
Reviewed by: Joshua Andre
- Pray It Up
- On Time
- Back Where I Started
One of the newer signees to Dream Records, singer/songwriter Joel Vaughn is an artist that you all need to stop and take notice of, if you haven’t already. Having released 3 EP’s so far in his short but impactful and influential career thus far (self-titled independent album, Kinetic his debut label EP, and Surrender last year); Joel follows up the highly successful project with another EP, titled Control Vol. 1, which released at the end of July this year. While this release may slip under the radar initially, there’s no mistaking and denying Joel’s fervent passion for Jesus oozing throughout these vibrant and honest 5 melodies, and these emotional and heartfelt pop/EDM and reflective ballad melodies are indeed some of my favourites of this year thus far, with Joel blending CCM and worship styles, creating an honest, raw and emotional moment of praise and adoration to our God and King. With the release centred around the theme of relying on God for everything we need; let’s dive in and see how these 5 songs have spoken to and ministered to me.
The 3-minute pop melody and radio friendly tune “Pray It Up” starts off proceedings, and immediately draws me in, as Joel fervently relays to us that all he need to do is to ‘pray it up’, to lay everything at the feet of Jesus, and let Him take the lead in our lives. A song of surrender and of utter devotion to the Almighty; “Pray It Up” is poppy, joyous and celebratory as we are met with a tune that declares God to be above everything else in our lives, which hopefully with bring us comfort and assurance- if not now, then into the future. “On Time” cranks the tempo up even more, as Joel delivers a passionate 2 minute high-octane pop number relaying to us that Jesus never is late, that ‘…You’re always on time, it’s all by Your design, I’m starting to see You got the best for me, and I won’t fall behind…’; while the somewhat overly produced EDM “Settle” would work very well on mainstream radio, if it weren’t for all the Christ-centred lyrics (which is definitely a good thing!)
Joel Vaughn channels Unspoken vocally in the mid-tempo piano led ballad “Back Where I Started” where we are met with a thankful and grateful heart declaring that all Joel wants to do is to go back where he started, back to where he was passionate about his faith and passionate about Jesus Christ. The EP then surprisingly ends (5 tracks is way, way too short!) with my personal highlight- the groovy gospel infused “Joy”, where Joel ardently proclaims to the devil that he cannot take out joy because it is rooted in Jesus Christ. Fittingly the final track as we ponder about the extent to which Jesus loves us and that joy that is in our hearts as a result, directed to Jesus; Control Vol. 1 is a must listen for those who feel down and need inspiration.
With Joel Vaughn’s 3 EP’s in the last 3 years, I was surprised in a good way, with every song a highlight personally, and Joel’s heart for worship quite admirable. In this release though, in Control Vol. 1, the production seems to be bigger, bolder and more impactful than ever, with Joel’s passion for Jesus greater than ever. With songs for personal and corporate worship infused together, as well as inspiring pop melodies as well in this short but sweet playlist; what more do I have to say to convince you that this EP is something you all need to listen to? Well done Joel, I can’t wait for your next release!
3 songs to listen to: Pray It Up, On Time, Joy
RIYL: Riley Clemmons, TobyMac, Group 1 Crew, Matthew Parker, Warr Acres, Vertical Worship