Hey Everyone!!! A few weeks ago I posted a review for the newest single by Kierra Sheard released for her forthcoming album. After what seemed like a long wait, the album Graceland was finally released this week. Her last album "Free" was in my opinion one of the best albums of 2011, and one of her best. In that album, Kierra created a youthful, urban praise and worship sound, that was not being tapped into. Based on how amazing that album's reception was, I naturally assumed that she would be going in a similar direction with this album. I was pleasantly surprised because this was not the direction of the album and it had a more urban-current sound. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this album and the direction she went in with it. So without further ado, I present my review of Kierra Sheard's new album, "Graceland."
The album begins with the "Intro: Spoken Word," which begins with the sound of Kierra's father Bishop Sheard's voice speaking in what sounds like an excerpt from a message he has preached about his only wife and only two children. The words then fade into the sound of Kierra's singing. From the beginning of her voice being introduced, you hear great growth and maturity in her voice and sound. Midway through the song it becomes a bit confusing because it transitions back into her father's voice, but this time in a singing. After a few moments of that, a hip-hopesque beat that has a very current and present day feel and sound, comes through the speakers. I am not 100 percent sure if this is a J. Drew track, but it definitely has the sound and feel of his style of music. The first track definitely is an attention grabber and leaves you wondering which direction the album is going to go.
The next song on the album is the single released by Kierra "2nd Win." Seeing how I have posted a review on the song in a previous edition of Pentecostal Review, I am not going to reiterate my opinion of the song.
I thought it was such a wonderful moment for my listening experience to hear Kierra sample the Clark Sister's classic "Balm in Gilead" on "Balm - Interlude." I think it was such a great modern translation of the classic song. You definitely can feel this album is on the road of more urban music. This song is a unexpected sound for Kierra that she does well.
"Moving Forward" is a mid-tempo song that displays the vocal stylings and sound we have learned to love and expect from Kierra. When the beat drops, you are surprised with a very futuristic sound that is a bit of a surprise based upon the foundation laid for the song in it's beginning. I adore the piano-only sound that is displayed in the pre chorus portion of the song. The chorus is very simplistic in format with an easy sing-a-long experience. I found it very innovative to include a message from her father in the middle of the song. It was neat to further hear a portion of a message being preached by her mother. The repeating of the chorus at the end of the song, left more to be imagined and caused the song to feel a bit incomplete.
The piano only start of "Flaws" sets the tone of the song to be very intimate and vulnerable. The honesty that Kierra displays in this song is truly heroic. This song shows that as children of God everyday isn't going to be a day of complete contentment, but there are days when you are going to have internal battles and struggles. This song shows the awe-inspiring love that God continually shows us. The most emotionally compelling song of the album that truly sings the sentiments of any and everyone.
"Kill the Dragon" also begins with a piano only introduction that draws you emotionally in. The song is lyrically ambiguous because you are not exactly sure what the dragon is. Very thought provoking song that makes you really examine what the dragon in your life is and how it can affect your future spouse. The vamp of the song is really simple with a chant sounding aspect in the background. Definitely a creative song that allows you to use your imagination while listening.
Once "Repin My God" begins, you have to remind yourself that you are listening to a gospel song. For some that may come off as a bad thing but I think it is great. I love that the song mentions and displays that even though the sound changes, the message is consistent with being Christ-centered. The song has a very Drake-esque sound to it which is a compliment because he is one of the largest and most successful rappers in this era of hip-hop that has created a sub genre of music. I thought the addition of Canton Jones really wasn't a positive addition. I felt it created an unfit sound for the song. I definitely can see this song blasting in the speakers of young people all over with the bass pumping.
"You Don't Like What You See Interlude" includes a sample of an old clark sisters song that is made more current. I love how she keeps including elements of her family in this album.
The electronic sound that begins "In You" really creates a mental journey of discovery for your ears. The chorus really expresses the feeling that anyone in a relationship with Christ has, and that is great dependency on Christ. This song truly isn't that memorable and a song I could have lived without on the album.
The acoustic guitar that begins "No Graceland" sets the stage for a vulnerable sound. Anyone that has ever made choices that were not pleasing to the Lord definitely can relate to this song and it's message. This a very catchy song that will have you singing along during the initial listening experience. The bridge really begins to build to the climax of the vamp. This such a great song that inspires and reminds you to live fully and totally for God.
The last song "Go" begins with a bang with the urban sounding direction that has been displayed in the album from the beginning. I love the rap sound Kierra displays on this song. The transition from the verse to the chorus is musically strange and not that appealing to your ears. The song is really current but comes off a bit repetitive in sound so it really is a bit unforgettable. I wish they would have chosen a different song to end the album with.
This album is superb to say the least. This album bridges the gap of urban music and gospel music. To some they may not like it but in reality, our young people are listening to this style of music filled with ungodly lyrics, so I really appreciate the fact that Kierra is giving young people a God-centered alternative. Listening to the album I realized that it picks right up from where Bold Right Life left off. Please go out and support this album and compel your young people to listen to it because I believe it has the power to change lives while speaking in the language of today's generation.Please go like the Pentecostal Perspective Facebook page, follow Pentecostal Perspective’s Instagram and Twitter pages, and share this edition of Pentecostal Review. God Bless!!!