If We Pray
Anointed went into studio long before world events in September 2001 changed some perspectives and ways of thinking. Yet, their new album starts off with a very young child praying for the country and ending with “God Bless America”.Producers: various
album release date: October 16, 2001
Prayer is, without doubt, the lyrical focus of this fifth studio project from Anointed, titled If We Pray. It's the theme of several of the songs, and speaks to the underlying reality that prayer is always important, no matter what the situation.
With the recent departure of Nee-Cee Walls, remaining original members brother and sister Steve Crawford and Da’dra Crawford Greathouse have forged ahead to reassure the doubtful that the group remains a musical pop/soul force to be reckoned with.
Vocals are up front throughout the project, with thick and generous layers of energetic, rhythmic pop tracks frequently laid on top. Top producers familiar to the CCM scene are brought in for bust-out, guitar and synth programming driven nuggets, but are sensitive to not completely forget the group’s urban roots.
Mark Hammond lays his hand on “One Fine Day”, a melodic groove about Jesus’ return that easily finds appeal to those comfortable with both the urban and the adult contemporary. The title track “If We Pray”, guided by Chris Rodriguez and Dan Muckala, enters a musical world swirling with dominant percussion and subtle latin touches as Steve and Da’dra spin vocal circles around the theme of the power of prayer and the hope that it brings.
“I’m Praying For You” is the gem of the album, with Steve and Da'dra interpreting its soft, simmering melody by way of changing leads with frequent joint harmonies. Producer Christopher Harris creates a subtle track with inventive synth emphasis.
The respected Tommy Sims (CeCe Winans, Jon Gibson, Darwin Hobbs) makes things more urban on “That’ll Do It” and “Things I Wish”. Both are encouraging, percussive entries, with the latter sung by Steve Crawford alone, relying a little less on the processed vibe, and a little more on a soulful, organic and unplugged sound courtesy of some conspicuous acoustic guitar.
“You’ll Never Thirst” is written by Da’dra, with Nicole C. Mullen and Roger Ryan also contributing. Soft strings lift up Da’dra’s gentle vocal telling of the story of the woman at the well. With muted backing vocals behind her, she takes this balladic solo piece to soaring heights as she moves the song into modern day relevance.
And Nee-C Walls isn’t totally out of the picture, as she co-writes on a couple of tunes, including “A Time For Everything”, a gently-unfolding number with light lyrical roots in Ecclesiastes.
Yes, Anointed may be a two-some, and yes this is a notable change for the group. But both Steve and Da’dra deliver a strong, vocals-based project that continues to appeal to the broad cross-section of fans that has been theirs since the beginning.
They are still anointed.
reviewed by Stan North —
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