Legendary Christian singer/songwriter Crystal Lewis is gearing up to release her latest self-titled album tomorrow, and BREATHEcast had the opportunity to hear it first and share our thoughts on the funky vibes.
Kicking off the record, queue the church organ, funky guitars and bass line, Crystal Lewis explodes into the record with "Be Alright" featuring the soulful Anthony Evans as guest vocalist. Over the chorus Lewis layers her voice on becoming almost a choir of one repeatedly encouraging people that everything "will be alright."
Up next is Lewis' single "Faithful" and it continues the groovy almost 70s vibe to it. Lewis' voice, especially on the chorus, stands out as she adds little runs here and there to embellish the vocals. Really light in the background is tiny piano leads and keyboard strokes that can only be heard if listened to closely. These minute sounds are important to filling the presence of the song is completely necessary. Her spirit filled dialogue toward the end serves as a prayer and a rally cry.
"Love Each Other" follows, and serves as another single that is sure to get the listener swinging their hips and snapping their fingers. Lewis has a rhythmic flow to her voice in this track, that exudes swagger and a youthful exuberance. The message is simple, everyone should "love each other."
"Let Go" comes in sounding like the scene of a lounge and again is a throwback to some vibes from the late 80s, early 90s. However, the sound is fresh and Lewis is just as great as ever singing that even if "it seems impossible" just let it go.
The next track, "In Your Name (For Your Glory)" featuring Christon Gray is a signature Crystal Lewis joint. The synthy pads synch well with the vocals, and Gray's silky smooth voice absolutely makes this track. In God's name we can find strength in everything we do, and victory in His glory.
"Move On" is a vocally fun song to hear Lewis on as she supplies fantastic harmonies with herself throughout. Her vocals dance through the track almost in a fashion to echo the movement she is singing of in the song.
"Beginning Again" still brings the funk by carrying on a bit more like a standard slower pop song. The lyrics are positive, and come from a place of rebirth as God's love pulls us closer to a fresh start.
With trumpets blaring and an organ piping up in the background, Lewis sings about her "Seat at the Table." Of course the seat at the table Lewis is referring to is in the throne room of God for being "good and faithful." It's a nice thought to be seated around the table with Jesus, the apostles, and the other saints of Christianity that have come before.
"Why am I constantly wasting time, comparing me? Take this yoke of jealously, it weighs me down, it makes me weak" Lewis asks and then requests of God in "Run." The poignant statement of us getting in our own way in trying to reach God is one of the most difficult things to overcome. Throughout struggles of fears, misguided thoughts, and sometimes an unwillingness to listen, all we have to do is "Run" to Him.
"I Will Sing" comes in with a beautiful piano intro before the drums kick in. Honestly, it sounds like a classic hip-hop cut with some old school flavor, except this is just Lewis doing what she does best, singing her heart out. "I will sing, I will celebrate, no longer afraid/ I've been set free for freedom's sake."
Ending the album is the piano ballad "Brave." It is stripped away of everything except for a steady piano and Lewis' emotion filled and powerful vocal. The singer definitely shows off her range and chops on this track as she belts "Hallelujah, God has won as He fights for us." The song is an uplifting encouragement for those waiting for Christ to keep strong in their faith until His return. If the world around us is falling, God protects and saves.
Overall the album is Crystal being Crystal. The sounds of the record is all about that "funk" as the bass and synth driven songs all flow together into one cohesive work. Lewis' message is kept consise in that love reigns supreme whether it be us learning to love others or understanding the love of God. After 25 years the singer still has some tricks up her sleeve and can produce a soulful, R&B, hip-hop, inspired pop album with some of the best in the genre that does not sound forced. Lewis is a natural, and on this next record, you'll naturally think so too.