Prime Cuts: You Are the Reason, Power of Christ, You And You Alone
Overall Grade: 5/5
Tragically, Jamie Slocum 's brand new Curb Records "Safe" is one of those albums that is going to fall through the cracks. There's literally no searchable press release to herald its release. On Curb Records' own website, there's not a hint of the album's release. Considering the fact that Curb is the musical home of Natalie Grant, Selah, and Plumb, for them to ignore this release this way is simply appalling. Even Jamie Slocum's own website is not functioning at the time of writing. Barely mentioned by Slocum himself in a single tweet, Slocum isn't very conversational about the album himself. Worse still, no Christian music portal features a single review or a news spot about this release. And even online music stores like Christianbook.com and Amazon.com don't do much to promote this release. This is despicably sad because "Safe" is a great record and for the majority of the public to bypass it is literally a crime.
Slocum first released his debut album, Somewhere Under Heaven, under Curb's imprint in 1996. The album earned Slocum a Dove Award nomination for "Best New Artist of the Year." Freedom Records then released Slocum's next full-length, Grace Changes Everything; the title track became a hit on Adult Contemporary radio.. After 2001's Someone Like You, Slocum returned to Curb Records for the 2003 release My Heart Knows. In 2009, Slocum released the album Dependence, and the title song became a Number One Adult Contemporary radio hit. "Dependence" was also nominated for a Dove Award as Inspirational Song of the Year. Two other songs from the album, "Fragile" and "Just Another Mountain," were also AC successes.
"Safe" was scheduled to be released in 2013 when Curb released the album's lead single "You Are the Reason." For some unbeknownst reason, the album was shelved until this year. Nevertheless, it's better late than never. "Safe" brims with a refreshing outburst of passion as exemplified in the album opener "Feel the Son." Framed in a Rascal Flatts meets the Beatles style of peppy pop with lots of crunchy electric guitar punctuations, "Feel the Son" is melodically sunny and lyrically Son-filled. "Safe," the title cut, has a striking similarity to label mate Plumb's "Need You Now" with its use of tempo modulations and with its chorus which starts with, "how many times can a heart be broken..."
The ballads here are pure gold. "You Are the Reason," the album's almost 3 year-old lead single, is a heart-tugging testimony of God's goodness sung over an anthemic power ballad template. Slocum indulges in some pensive worship moments with "You Are God" and "You And You Alone." The latter is noteworthy of mention because it showcases Slocum in his more tender moments backed mainly just by a piano. Featuring a more jaunty undercurrent is "Power of Christ" which is also one of the album's most melodic piece that unabashedly speaks of the power of the Gospel to reach the nations.
Shame on Curb Records and whoever handles the PR-ing of Slocum in releasing this album without any advertising setup. What is overlooked by some doesn't mean this CD is shabby by any means. In fact, it's Slocum's best effort to date. Check it out and you will be safely rewarded.