Musically speaking, Anointed hasAnointed, the group been a difficult group to define in recent years. They debuted with Spiritual Love Affair in 1993, and were known as a contemporary quartet with a no-holds barred urban sound, sliding to a decidedly pop-styled trio with their third album Under the Influence in 1996.

With word spreading that noted urban producers such Keith Crouch, Tony Rich and Kern Brantley have been recruited to play a role in their fourth project, there has been some curiousity as to how far Anointed will turn back to their rhythm ‘n praise beginnings at this point in their ministry.

The answer can be found on their new self-titled album, and in the words of Anointed’s Steve Crawford, theAnointed CD music is not compartmentalized, rather “it’s all one big room, and everyone is invited”. The listening ear tells you that the trio, who also includes Nee-C Walls and Da'dra Crawford Greathouse, has found something of a middle ground, with an interesting merger of pop-tinged urban Gospel cuts with urban-edged pop/dance songs.

Perhaps predictably, the material on the album produced by Tony Rich (“Take It Eazy”, “It’s All Good”) takes on the acoustic guitar driven urban sound that is characteristic of the popular artist, while the work of noted CCM hit-makers Mark Heimermann and Chris Harris (“Godspot”, “Revive Us”) has much the same vibe as much of their work with the group on their previous Under the Influence project. Kern Brantley also contributes a welcome, bass-heavy driving urban remix of “Revive Us”, which works very well.

Keith Crouch comes into play in his production and song-writing of the some of the album cuts that have ‘cross-over’ written all over them (“Ooh Baby” and “Head Above Water”). With these songs especially, but with others as well, some may be uncomfortable with the lyrical absence of a straight-up Gospel message. Will this be the center of the next round of debate on the old but important issue of lyrical content in Gospel music? That has yet to be seen.

Overall, this project demonstrates that Anointed is not resting on past successes and previous laurels. Instead, they have ventured into new areas, and into territory that will be interesting to see them chart.

Producers: Various
Myrrh Black Music Division

— reviewed by Stan North —

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