Album Review: Rekonciled – “Struggles & Victory”
Rekonciled “Struggles & Victory”
Reviewed by: Neil Christian
Rating: 6.5 (Out of 10)
The struggles in the Christian life are many. From fighting the flesh, our sin, the world and just fighting for holiness and time to spend with God, we can feel spent. Sometimes, often actually, I have felt like giving up. Many times I have cried out, “Maranatha,” just wishing for this life to end and to go home. Often after another moral failure, I would sit and question my salvation. We have all experienced this. We have all been through the struggle. Even Paul, the greatest evangelist in the history of Christianity, cried out in Romans 7, “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?!”
That heart wrenching cry of Paul has echoed down through the ages and through many struggles and sorrows all the saints have cried out. They have been in anguish over their personal sin and their struggles against this world and the flesh. And throughout the ages, accompanying the cry, comes the thundering reply found in the next verse, “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!”
That is the Christian life. That is what Struggles & Victory is about. The debut album of Rekonciled touches on many of the core issues that a Christian faces. They are very frank in speaking about the core issues that many of us struggle with such as, the drifting away from the Lord, or not reading the word to the love of money and the guilt often associated with our struggles in these areas. This album is a personal, heartfelt album that has been birthed out of the duo’s real struggles. As a result, this album sounds genuine. Lyrically the emcees are straightforward, but with an album that tackles a difficult topic such as this, simple rhymes often communicate the biggest truth most effectively.
Nonetheless, the first thing you notice about the album on playback is that it is crisp! The mixing and mastering is fantastic. The different layers sound clear, the bass is tight; vocals sit nicely with the instrumentals. Let me pause here and acknowledge KT. Quality production is rare in CHH, which is a sad statement in itself. The production really lifted the tracks and took them to another level.
It’s one thing to have violins on a track. To weave it into the tapestry of Fight in me where it forms the perfect exotic backdrop for a gritty story is another matter entirely. Things just keep getting better from there. The bass is not overpowering, the kick and snare are at just the right level, and synths fly in and out at the punch lines. This track is complex. Because of the production, I am able to distinguish each layer and yet, enjoy the whole song. Even the haunting choir adds a somber mood to the sermon clip, edifying the believer to fight. This is just beautiful music.
And that is just the mixing and mastering. I have never heard Eysee Media and Zone beats. But they have delivered on the beats front. These producers, and others on the album, are definitely not amateurs. Just take Redemption, complete with lead guitar and acoustic guitars to give it that stadium status, upon which our hearts soar into the presence and worship of the Kings of Kings. Can I say this again? This is beautiful production. Watch out for Eysee Media & Zone beats. Whoever they are, they are about to do big things.
And this is the reason why I don’t understand two things (well 3 things actually, but the 3rd is not as important). Why there is a song named swagger change present on the album?! With such excellent lyrics in the verse, the hook just encumbers the song and instead of uplifting, it’s just plain clichéd. I have not heard the word swagger from the secular hip hop world for over a year and a half, but for some reason it is just refusing to leave CHH.
And it’s the same story with auto-tune. Why use auto-tune to sing on Girl of My Dreams? Except for the last verse, the whole song is sung in auto-tune. The best part of the song was when the rapper actually rapped. With such a bubbly hitmen-ish beat, it was such a shame to hear it go to waste. With such outstanding, modern production I just don’t understand the decision to include auto-tune and refer to swagger.
Sure the mistakes are far and few in-between what is an excellent, well- crafted album. But on an album with only ten songs, you don’t have the luxury of having one or two mediocre songs. Every song on a short album has to be excellent or the listener will feel slighted, and rightfully so.
Rekonciled have crafted a good album, with the potential of being great. With 9 songs and an interlude it is on the short side. Nevertheless, the album doesn’t have an ounce of fat on it. With excellent production from the top to bottom, this album stands a notch above most albums I have heard in 2011. Even the album’s shortcomings are not failures, but lessons. Lessons in Struggles, but ultimately, Victory.
1. Music – 7
2. Flow – 6
3. Creativity / Originality – 7
4. Relevancy – 5
5. Content & Character – 7
6. Credibility & Confidence –6
7. Personality – 6
8. Presentation Quality – 7
9. Overall Production Quality – 8
10. Potential Impact – 6