Tuesday, July 26, 2011
REVIEW: Dawkins & Dawkins "From Now On"
With bated breath, we all cautiously awaited Christian Music’s answer to the vocal stylings of K-Ci and JoJo and out of nowhere appeared Eric and Anson Dawkins (better known as Dawkins & Dawkins) in 1998. With classics like “Need To Know” and “Wrapped Up” they were the first duo of male singers to make all of us feel cool and smooth listening to our Gospel music on summer’s day. Yet, just as quick as they came they disappeared leaving a sense of audible unfulfillment in their departure. It’s been over 10 long years and now they are back, Dawkins & Dawkins, with this new project From Now On and we are all the better for it. Let’s jump right into the track by track synopsis for this highly anticipated return to the stage for the duo:
1) Fill Me- One thing becomes very clear when listening to this first track off of this album, the guys haven’t forgotten how to sing or how to put together a great song. Fill Me is a full-length song that is broken into four parts and serves as an album interlude (dope concept). You will play all four back to back to hear the full song because it’s just a great song.
2) Get Down – Get Down served as the pre-release single for this album so you might already be familiar with it. The song plays well with Dawkins & Dawkins strengths because the groove of the track reminds us why the group was set apart from the crowd in the first place. A DJ somewhere is preparing to play this at his “grown and saintly” party as I type this.
3) I’m Just Sayin’- This was not my favorite track on the album although I thought that the sound of the song was pretty good. In my humble opinion there was a disconnect between the writing/lyrics of the song and the track itself. Oddly enough I think they could have went another way given the sound of the track, but I understand that I may be way off here as that critique is as subjective as critiques can be.
4) He Said – I love everything about this track, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy it as well. This track is beastly, it draws you in and the message of the song finishes the job. Songs like this fill a void in the R&P genre that was there since Dawkins & Dawkins last project.
5) Fill Me 2 – Another solid minute of “Fill Me” to prepare me for the next 3 songs, I like.
6) From Now On – You know how most title tracks to R&B or R&P albums tend to be nice flowing ballads that go for tears, not this one…. AND I LOVE THEM FOR IT!!!! The replay value on this song is very high, I think D&D went for blood with the musicality of this project so far. I feel good about music after listening to this track.
7) Ordinary – I’m going to try to say something here without getting on one of my soapboxes (clears throat)… SONGS LIKE THIS ARE NECESSARY, the Gospel presented in a simple song and a simple package that anyone would like, this group shows again and again how 10 years later they can still get it done. We need more male vocalist duos...we really do (remember Ruff Endz, K-Ci and JoJo, etc.; groups like that were almost exclusively a late 90’s, early ‘00s phenomenon).
8) Like Him – Like Him is a beautiful song which meets its purpose with the help of D&D, by that I mean that if the wrong artist would have gotten their hands on this track they would have made the wrong song with it. This sounds like a love song that a Christian songwriter got their hands on, then you realize that is in face a Christian love song that a songwriter got their hands on.
9) Fill Me 3 – This is still a good song, even the 3rd time around.
10) Best Man – This song was not what I was expecting from the title, I keep anticipating that slow ballad that usually comes and smacks you in the face around this time on a R&P CD, this wasn’t it. Love this song, this is good riding music (go ahead and try it, go ride around the block bumping this song and I bet money that you walk back into your house feeling good about yourself).
11) Pray For Me – D&D is a flashback into the late 90’s with their style, the way they put together songs, and their overall presence on their songs; and I mean that in the most complimentary way possible. Songs like “Pray for Me” are the reason why a group like D&D is so appreciated and needs to keep putting in work.
12) Love Him – This song doesn’t stray to far from what Dawkins & Dawkins does with the rest of their songs musically and lyrically in past and present projects, which is the ultimate two-sided coin. As a listener, you appreciate them staying true to their solidified style but you might also hope that around this point of the project they would stretch themselves possibly more.
13) Fill Me 4 – Here is the thrilling and awaited conclusion to the Fill Me interludes, again I implore you to play each song back to back. You have iTunes, make it happen!
14) This Praise Is For You – My only critique with this album that you will find me on record saying is that I think that I have heard D&D make a song like this before...on this album. I have the strange feeling that if it were a young lady reviewing this project they would have the COMPLETE opposite opinion of mine on this subject.
15) Back – Around this time I realized that this was a 16 track album (SN: I love when an artist gives you more than 10 songs for the 9.99 you’ll have to pay iTunes. ARTISTS, make sure your song to dollar ratio is tight and greater than 1:1 when you put out a project, some of you jokers, smh…), unfortunately every track since 11 have been similar although great. Perhaps the track listing may be different upon release because there is diverse material on this album.
16) Can You Hear Me – “Can You Hear Me” is a wonderfully orchestrated song with a fantastic message of worship that is great to hear. I honestly cannot wait to hear them perform this live as I’m sure it will be powerful specifically with Live instrumentation. It’s great to be reminded how Great a God we serve that is willing to hear our every concern and dwell within us.
Interesting Note: Eric and Anson Dawson definitely stayed busy during their hiatus from making music as the group Dawkins & Dawkins. Eric continued his work in music with the production team “The Underdogs” producing for such artists as Ruben Studdard, Tyrese, Tank, etc. while Anson serves as College & Career Pastor at The Life Center in Tacoma, WA. I also made it through this review only referencing K-Ci and JoJo twice.
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