Reviewed by: DJ Gravity X
Rating: 1.75 (Out of 10)
“And now for something completely different.” I had to start out by quoting Monty Python’s Flying Circus. Why? Well this is not your average mixtape by any means. In fact, I wouldn’t even really call it a mixtape at all, even though that’s how Joshua Psalms refers to it. The reason to call it a mixtape is because the music that appears on about half the tracks comes from muzeONE and were not produced for this album. Thus, after having got permission to use the music, Joshua Psalms lays bits and pieces of pre-produced underground boom bap music underneath, wait for it, wait for it… poetry. No seriously, this is a spoken word album. And that, my friends, is the something completely different.
Having read the bio for the artist and the album profile given by the artist I knew going in this was a spoken word album. I knew that muzeONE had made the music. But even after all of that I expected “something completely different” from what I got. What I got was a sleepy, monotone droning of short poetry pieces completely lacking in any charisma, rhythm or meter. No seriously, there was no energy at all. The best example, or worst example depending on your point of view, of this lack of energy was “Praisin’.” Here is what’s supposed to be a “praise track” ushered in by Joshua. But the vision the track gave me in my head was a half asleep lazy individual sitting in front of his computer just saying stuff he’s heard in services thousands of times, but doing so without any real spiritual leading, or even just raw emotion. It was someone just sitting there, staring into a computer camera and looking around aimlessly, waiting for time to pass and then say something else. And the clincher? Right at the end of the track, “My God. Someone grab me a towel.” HAHAHA! Wow, I have to laugh or else I’d cry in sadness. What’s the towel for Joshua? It certainly ain’t sweat. Just saying.
While I appreciate the principle of the album, which is to speak seriously to the hearts and minds of men in order to lead them to Christ and build them up in good application of scripture, I don’t imagine the impact to be great in this format. When one is speaking, the goal is to grab the audience individual by individual and group by group. One’s delivery is key to that. But on Heart to Heart there are only two options, a monotone voice or production tweaked monotone voice meant to represent Satan speaking. Sorry, but the goal is to reach out with a sharp sword and swing with strength, not to be dull and lazily meander about without conviction. The goal is still to do things to excellence. Noah didn’t just make some old basic clipper or dingy or whatever he could with whatever materials he happened to have lying around. He made the exact boat in the exact fashion it needed to be made for the exact purpose of Noah’s calling and duty and God’s command, and in excellence.
In the end this “mixtape” was less about the power and creative latitude that poetry in spoken word form can offer. This was more so about someone blandly reading words from a piece of paper that probably have far more power when read off of paper than listening to Joshua’s poor dictation. Heart to Heart is poorly produced, poorly expressed and utterly unappealing; the phrasing was simply pitiful; and furthermore, the music made no sense with any of the poetry. They had no harmony at all. The whole thing seemed lazy, poorly thought out, rushed and conceptually made no sense at all.
Here are some quick things for a young self-producer to keep in mind if you might want to record something in your own home in the hopes of distributing it and even getting a review without prior professional experience. First, don’t use cheap, hand held plastic mics. They sound horrible and will never give you the sound you want. Make sure you use some kind of sound proofing, however basic. When you record, make sure the levels do not clip, meaning that they do not redline or peek. Every recording program will show you when it does. When that happens, the sound quality always distorts and there is no fix other than to rerecord. You still want to have a good level, just not peaking. If it’s recorded too low, the artificial increase of volume creates horrible background noise and/or a kind of artificial distortion that doesn’t sound good at all. Also, be aware how one is speaking as the letter P, for example, tends to be louder and sharper and can really mess with the recording. Also, if you are going to use effects, make sure you really understand how to use them effectively before using them on a final project. Make sure to really listen to what you have done, compare it to other industry standard productions and let some friends, and strangers, who are honest provide an honest critique before you send your work out. All of these things were done improperly on this album. And then I, or someone in my place, end up giving you that kind of critique and publically to boot.
There are a few positive aspects here, though. The music that muzeONE had produced was good. And it’s clearly evident that Joshua does love the Lord and wants to share Christ with all those he can so that others can share the goodness and grace of Christ that Joshua has been so blessed and honored to receive. He wants to see the Kingdom of God grow and flourish and be a good servant to Christ in playing some part, what ever part he can, so that that end result of God’s glory on display occurs. And those are all definitely good things.
I hope this becomes a lesson learned more than anything. We all need them. The upside is the cost was somewhat low. The hope is that with future work, Joshua will learn to take the time necessary, put in the proper effort and learn the skills required to put out a project worthy of praise and accommodation and larger exposure/distribution of the level he has sought. And that’s my Heart to Heart with Joshua Psalms.
Reviewed by: DJ Gravity X 7/11
Born with a reprobate mind, but drawn to Christ like gravity.
1. Music – 3
2. Flow/Delivery – 0.5
3. Lyricism – 2
4. Content – 4
5. Creativity/Originality/Relevancy – 1.5
6. Credibility & Confidence – 1
7. Personality & Character – 2
8. Presentation Quality – 1
9. Overall Production Quality – 1.5
10. Potential Impact – 1