Thursday, April 07, 2016

Review of Dillon Chase's "Speak Up Volume 3"

Dillon Chase is a talented rapper.  His BDFFRNT cd is one of my favorite projects over the past decade.  He is a good father and husband, and he cares about doctrine.  With all of that said, I just couldn't get into "Speak Up V. 3".  I was asked to review the project, and want to be as fair as possible, so I will list my conclusions below.

I think that part of the reason I haven't enjoyed this CD as much as his past efforts is a slight change in style, which, according to my son, is more reflective of trends in modern rap/pop music.  My only exposure to new music is through Chris Chicago's podcast (Rapzilla).  I don't listen to secular music.  I don't listen to the radio, and I don't usually like whatever is popular in Christian music.  So call me old, or set in my ways, but I like what I like, and that probably isn't going to change anytime soon.

Speaking of my age, I think another reason is that Dillon's target audience is much younger (maybe teens and 20s?).  I am looking for mature lyrics that delve deep into the doctrines of grace, from the problem that plagues all of us (sin) to the solution to that problem (Jesus Christ) and everything in between.  Songs that apply directly to the listener are always going to resonate more than a song they can't relate to.

I listened to this CD several times, and then went away listening to other music, and then returned to try it again, at least a couple of times over the past couple of months since he released it.  The lyrics seem harder to follow on this CD, and I feel like I need to see them typed out in front of me to catch what is being said.  That becomes a problem when my primary time to listen is while driving.

So with that, by far my favorite song on the CD is "Fall".  Fall deals with sin, and I can relate to that.  Theologically, I think it is the deepest song on the CD, and captures the basic problem of sin, I mentioned above.  I like how the music builds throughout the song.  The more it builds, the more it feels like he has something to say.  This song deals with addictions and problems that are common to the human condition, and best of all, it gives the remedy:  "He paid it all, paid it all.  Don't be afraid to fall, afraid to fall."  He also deals with eating disorders in verse 2, and again comes to the solution:  Run to the Lamb who bled, cancels debts, and corrects, warped souls advancing death."

My next favorite songs on the album are Heart, Speak Up, and Needs.  Heart has good lyrics that also deal with our natural desire to not want God, and a desire to want Him to give a desire to love Him.  Some of the poetic imagery in the song is difficult for me to catch, but this is another song that I need to go line by line though reading the lyrics to get the full meaning, and I just haven't had time to do that.  Speak Up is the title track, and you can tell a lot of work went into production.  I guess my issue is that the fragmented and symbolic lines are difficult to follow.  That is probably more my fault, because it takes work to break down exactly what the author is intending.  As with past records, some of Dillon's lyrics are excellent.  For example: "Die to my selfish ways every day till I levitate cause I'm prone to sing my life song in the key of me".  Needs is a unique song with an interesting female sample.  Again, this song deals with sin, though again, it takes some work to figure out where he is coming from and going.

The last song I want to address is "Stay".  This song samples the theme song from Interstellar.  I know it is just a sample, but that song is so unique to the movie that it is hard for me to focus on anything but the movie when I hear the song.  Dillon addresses his step son's struggle with a father who isn't involved in his life, and the pain he has seen in that.  The cool thing is that God put Dillon in Julian's life to meet those very "needs".  The song draws back to Christ as the answer for the fatherless.

I appreciate Dillon and his music, and probably didn't give enough credit here for the time and tears and hard work that went into the album.  I hope something I said was helpful though, and look forward to the next album.

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