[review.] Christon Gray – Body Art
Published on November 5, 2012
“I DONT MAKE GOSPEL MUSIC;
I MAKE MUSIC GOSPEL.”
Christon Gray’s artwork is just that; what you’ll hear will not be particular genre of music for a certain group of people, but many categories of music centered on the greatest news anyone can hear, for all people. That is creative mission, something in some way the best of his co-laborers are doing- and if not, should be doing. In Body Art, we see Gray again deliver a work that does all this masterfully. Impressive musicality, lyrical depth, and impassioned delivery are all here for your entertainment and edification.
What you’ll notice immediately this man’s ability to seamlessly transition between his confident rapping and his soulful R&B talent. To the question of who will do the chorus hook or who will have the awesome rapping section, Christon answers: I got this. And yes, he is joined by notable others in this dual-wielding talent, but how often is it executed well? Tracks “Momentum” and “Cry No More” are fine examples in doing this right. It’s not like he’s better at one than the other. He’s great at both. With this, Gray’s switch-offs allow him a rare, versatility that makes him a unique joy to listen to, in CHH and beyond.
What you’ll notice immediately this man’s ability to seamlessly transition between his confident rapping and his soulful R&B talent.
The opener “Life Is” is a bold tone-setter, which covers some of his story up till now and the last lines effectively banging out what his album (and life) will be about- the Gospel. Great turn-table work via DJ Promote and a jazzy retro feel rocks as the hook of “Captain America”, a top track here and a timely commentary on our nation, both its good and foolish tendencies, in the midst of our next election cycle. If you listen closely, you’ll find that his Captain America is greater than Steve Rogers.
Additionally noted on the production- it’s hard to find instrumentals and clever sampling on any track in Body Art that disappoint, my personal favorite being the work done on “Captain America”. If the lyrics aren’t staying in your head, the beats certainly will. This is also done excellently to build on a particular ironic twist on “Blue Skies”, with a blatantly 1950’s America hook cheerfully touting: Blue skies, sunshine, what a day to take a walk in the park; it builds on the theme of American dreams glorying in the wrong things, and with each of the contributors (Swoope, Alex Faith, and Dre Murray) showing an image of that dream redeemed.
…it builds on the theme of American dreams glorying in the wrong things, and showing images of that dream redeemed.
Therein is a great presentation of several themes- a revision of the American dream, the creation of great, God-glorifying art, and coping with loss (via “Good Mourning”, “Ask”, “Autumn Leaves”, “Cry No More”). You can say as far as these themes, the album actually takes a more somber tone in its latter half. So Body Art isn’t all social commentary- it’s also a mix of good music approaching real issues as they are. That said, probably our main critique with Body Art happens to be something construable as good- it’s tackling of many themes, if intentional, do appear to be more of a collage of ideas rather than one unified entity. But in a wider sense, it IS one big display of great art.
That’s what it is overall- great art glorying the things we were meant to, in the midst of a culture set on glorying in the things that are not worthwhile. This is transformative and is the work of artists for the Gospel. So Gray’s heart for God’s work, in closing, is aptly said in his opening for “Captain America”:
The picture ain’t done, yet/keepin’ my brush wet/painting the sunset/as if there’s only one left.
In his bodily vessel, he’s going to keep making great art with a precious message.
- Music – 9
- Flow – 8
- Creativity / Originality – 9
- Relevancy – 8
- Content & Character – 9
- Credibility & Confidence – 9
- Personality – 8
- Presentation Quality – 8
- Overall Production Quality – 8
- Potential Impact – 8