A while ago, singer Colton Dixon announced the release date (Aug 9th, 2014) of his sophomore album “Anchor.” With this announcement came excitement and expectations from both fans and Christian music lovers.
Colton Dixon won the heart of the world when he first appeared on season 11 of hit TV show American Idol. He may not have won the TV competition, but he was a winner all the same as he successfully dropped a stellar debut effort entitled “A Messenger” in early 2013. This album earned the singer much acclaim for his talent and skills; little wonder why he is one of the artists signed to officially represent piano making giants, Steinway. Steinway artists are professional pianists who choose to perform only on Steinway pianos.
As a fan of Dixon imagine my excitement when I got an advance copy of his album, “Anchor” in my mail. That was a few weeks ago. After all this time, and after several listens I have succumbed to the conclusion that Dixon’s second effort “Anchor” doesn’t live up to his debut “A Messenger.” Bummer, I know.
The theme of “Anchor” unquestionably demonstrates faith and trust in God, it also depicts encouragement and the need to rely on God through difficult situations. Thematically, Not much has changed from the days of “You Are” and “Never Gone.”
After 48 minutes of listening time, there are just a few songs that dramatically stands out.
The standout tracks – “Through It All,” “Limitless,” “Echo,” and “More Of You.”
“Through It All” – This worship tunes is laced with beautiful piano and strings. The vocals on the song are effortlessly and beautifully done. If there is a song on the album that comes in a full package, it is “Through It All.”
“Limitless” to simply put is a stadium anthemic tune (sorry declaration). This affirmative promulgation of being unstoppable comes heavy on drums with contagious energy. This will be a great song to perform in concert, or to sing along to with thousands of worshipers (think – Passion Conference).
“Echo” is catchy and infectious, yet with meaningful relatable lyrics.
On first listen, “More Of You” isn’t a stand out, but it has come a long way since it was released as a single. So it is accurate to say the song is a grower as it grew on me to the point it stands out.
No Doubt Dixon has enjoyable songs on “Anchor,” however, as a whole the record just doesn’t hit the spot.
Dixon adopted a somewhat intense rock-oriented sound, and less of slow rock/pop unlike the first. Although such a move is bold and acceptable, it comes with its pros and cons. While this will fail to impress some old fans (like myself); the plus-side to Dixon exploring with his hard rock element in songs like “Loud and Clear,” and “Our Time Is Now” is that he will gain a whole new audience of Christian hard rock lovers.
The other reason why this album won’t be getting a steady rotation on my player is that this seems way too engineered and over-produced for me, unlike the debut effort which was raw, unapologetic, and vulnerable.
For what it is worth, the “You Are” singer took some risks and that is commendable.