FREE AT LAST
- Date First Available:
- January 13, 2007
- Is Discontinued By Manufacturer:
- EMI CMG
- Number of discs:
- Run time:
- 40 minutes
FREE AT LAST Review Before the opening sample can spit out "Take this mob for a ride," the big beat kicks in hard on "Luv is a Verb," a song the Talkers were performing at a number of festivals this past summer, and the first of many proofs that this pop/rap threesome has arrived. Its impressive production values and commercial songwriting sense make it (and many others on Free At Last) almost immediately memorable, but its lyric, though universally true, spins it bold for believers. "Back in the day there was a man/who stepped outta heaven and he walked the land/gave up his life so we may live/how much more luv could the Son of God give."Before you can drop a beat, Toby McKeehan jumps in with the fast rappin' prologue to "That Kind of Girl," contrasting the godly woman described in Proverbs 31 with a few less sanctified females more common on the scene today. The stripped-down arrangement highlights the groups singing abilities, both in unison and in the tight harmony breaks (a la Boyz II Men) that punctuate most the album.Next comes 90s return of "Jesus Is Just Alright," here updated with rap science from Toby Mac and samples from "Vogue" and "The Power" (among others), and rechristened "Jesus is Just Alright." Like the rest of this album, its message is in-your-face bold: "To the ones who think they heard/I did use that J word/cause I ain't to soft to say it/even if DJs don't play it." The music gets mellow and melodic for "Socially Acceptable," but the message is more meat than milk. A downtempo extension of the themes represented last album in "Walls," McKeehan raps, "Society has gotten to be all out of whack/and don't bother with excuses white or black/in reality our decency has taken a plunge/In God We Trust is an American pun," before (Michael) Tait and (Kevin) Max join in sweet, multi-racial harmony. To underscore the point, the trio takes us to church for a speedy gospel rave-up on the title tune, "Free at Last," with big choral support from the Never Ending Witness Choir, directed by Oliver Wells, and sanctified wailing from Veronica Petrucci (of Angelo and) bound to get you dancing in the aisles."The Hard Way," another slow percolator (with some deep bass, bros!) is one of the album's best songs and most poignant messages, as Max laments his tendency to be "the kind of guy who has to find out for myself," and learn the "hard way." Its a sentiment far too many of us could echo, and Kevin sings it like he means it."I Don't Want It" says loud and proud: "I don't want it/your sex for now/I don't want it/ till we take the vows." The blatency of the lyric may make some parents blush, but they can hardly despise its message: "S-E-X is a test when I'm pressed/so back off with less of that zest/safe is the way they say to play/then again safe ain't safe at all today/so wait for the mate that's straight from God/don't have sex till ya tie the knot." Oh, and one other thing, like I said earlier, it slams.As much as Nu Thang was a quantum leap improvement over dc Talks debut album, Free at Last is another logarithmic long jump, with sophisticated arrangements, stellar musicianship, and hat-trick production courtesy of Toby McKeehan, Mark Heimmerman and Joe Hogue. -- Thom Granger (c) 1992 CCM Communications, Inc. -- From CCM Magazine -- Subscribe Now!
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