Written by: Celita Diaz-Perillo (Date written: 09/06/2021)
I have admired David Phelps’ talent for a long while now, especially the amazing sounds he provided while with the Gaither Vocal Band. I also greatly appreciated his moments singing with his daughter (on the world wide web). There is no doubt in my mind that he has a superb ability to weave and to stretch notes to create beautiful tapestries of sound. He sure has caused our hearts to feel things with his emotion-filled lyrics and those fantastic “high notes”.
I have debated on sharing this review because it may come across as harsh and unappreciative, and that is not my goal. But I am concerned for any who might consider this a positive way to reach a soul with truth, hope, light, because Gamechanger is mostly an album of artistic expression; but NOT one I would consider exclusively “Christian”. It is important to mention that there is little mention of faith or God, in my opinion, and only rarely touches on anything that would cause one to desire to seek more knowledge of who He is. Rather, it feels more like an ode to the artist, his relationships, and to his perspective of life. I know that a song can be powerful without mentioning the Lord and can still carry great depth and meaning, and touch a heart. An example of what I mean would be the book of Esther in the Bible, that never mentions the Lord, but He is SEEN throughout the book and the story, anyway. But I did not feel that with this album.
From cover to lyrics to music, Gamechanger is eclectic through and through. A smattering of R&B, pop, jazz, gospel and country, and others I have yet to identify clearly.
In a world where the majority of people, of all ages, are striving to discover their identity with all their energy and focus, I was disappointed that this album felt like it had a bit of an identity crisis. But the search for identity in this album did NOT lead people to find their identity in Christ, but rather just shared life experiences in mostly story-like form, oftentimes with little direction, faith, encouragement, Biblical affirmation. It was very “I am me, and this is how I am” and “You’re gonna make it”. And it is said in various ways in many songs.
There is one song that straight out says something like “I have chosen my way. You have chosen your way and we still live in peace and harmony.” Sounds okay, but in the context of what it was saying, I hoped and expected, as a believer, to hear something said about how “our ways” aren’t the main thing to consider, that it is God’s way that matters. But NO.
I wouldn’t share this album with one of my teens who already struggles with his/her self centeredness and identity, because it has little to do with keeping focused on Jesus or seeking His face or even the Christian walk! I tend to choose music not for “music’s sake” but for the purpose of being a tool to help me in my calling and my job as wife & mom/encourager/to remind people of their worth and calling. I expected more substance in Gamechanger, and found it lacking.
On that note, let me share a few songs that I actually did like.
“Give It Time” was an affirming call to wait, to be patient, to persevere, and to hold on in life. Very lovely guitar sounds, smooth and sweet.
“Last Night On Earth” was an interesting song. Referred to life challenges and using what you have in this life to make it the best life you can, and living with no regrets.
“Song For Sinners” was a heartfelt and well expressed prayer.
Obviously, these are my opinions and my perspective. There may be many who do not see or hear Gamechanger in the same way I do. And that is okay. As always, have a great day, and God bless you.