Prime Cuts: Lead Me Through, Bless His Holy Name,Sheaves (Dedicated to Isabel)
Overall Grade: 3.75/5
2:22, released on February 22, 2022, is off to an auspicious start. Lead single "Answer is Jesus" is currently zooming up the charts and it has gain traction with many fans and radio. There also are many things going for this record. Produced by Wayne Haun and Kris Crunk, the album features 10 new songs (plus a narrated "The Lord's Prayer" pegged as the 11th cut) coming from the pens of co-writers such as Haun, Reba Rambo, Tony Wood, Mitch Wong, Mia Fieldes, Chris Farren, and many others. In keeping with many of Haun's helmed-projects, this album's production is top-notched. It strikes a perfect balance between elegantly majestic and homespun intimate.
Moreover, the album is stocked full of "A" level ballads. Written by Peck, Tony Wood, and Michael Farren, "Lead Me Through" is an honest testimonial song that speaks of how God can lead us through our toughest times. Though the lyrics don't traverse new grounds, it's Peck's crystalline and heartfelt delivery that is earth-shattering. "Sheaves (Dedicated to Isabel)" is a must-hear for those of us who are laboring for the Lord, but don't often see the results. Encouraging us to be faithful even in a harvest that is "full of grief," this is the type of song will reap eternal fruit. Haun and Crunk show their mettle of what fine producers they are with the gorgeous string-orchestrated backing of "Spirit of Heaven" (a co-write by Reba Rambo).
The song premise of "If God Wrote a Song" is excellent: if God were to write a letter, he will tell us he is love, grace, peace and so forth. Unfortunately, the song doesn't go deep to explore any of these qualities, or does it make any attempt to bring in new perspectives of these attributes As a result, the song come across as corny and trite. "Answer is Jesus" addresses the issues our world is facing today. In essence the song is right that the panache to all our ills is Jesus, but this comes with a lot of qualifiers. Without them, the song sounds too simplistic and, in some sense, naïve.
Much better is "The Keepers." Going into more details in describing the various people who do not let their trials overwhelm them, the song has more depth and dimension. Maybe the problem is that the band has enlisted the help of far too many session-songwriters. These scribes spend the whole day writing songs and often they jump from one song writing session to another. Many of them do not have time to mediate, ruminate, and live out their ideas before committing them to paper. This makes their songs superficial, repetitive, and trite.