It was difficult not to be immediately skeptical upon hearing the title of Hawk Nelson's newest album,
Hawk Nelson is My Friend. While a tribute to their fans and to their most popular selling shirt to date, the title
doesn't make me want to buy the album. In fact, it's a total turn-off. Why? Although a bit uncertain, it's probably because
I expected more maturity on their third album. Not that a title makes an album, but would someone who's never listened to Hawk
give this record a second glance? I doubt it. This in itself is really unfortunate because after actually hearing the album,
it's tough not to say that Hawk Nelson is My Friend is some of their best work to date.
The opener, "You Have What I Need," is harder and louder than pretty much anything the guys have ever done before.
The song is edgy, poppy, exciting, and fun to listen to all at the same time. It's a great opener and it really sets the tone
for what proves to be a wild ride of an album.
What follows is one of the catchiest collections of songs that I've ever heard. For Hawk Nelson, it doesn't matter if the
song is hard, soft, fast, slow - it's all catchy. You'll seriously have "One Little Miracle" in your head all day and you won't
mind. In fact, don't be surprised if somebody tells you to stop singing so they can talk to you for a minute.
But it took a few listens to get to this point. Maybe it was still the title being a turn off, but I wasn't overly excited
after listening to the album for the first time. Everything seemed so familiar: the music was simple, the melodies were catchy,
and the lyrics really spoke to me, especially on some of the slower tracks. Then I realized that all of this was what I loved so
much about Hawk Nelson. And then the album rocked.
Despite the title, Hawk Nelson really does bring the maturity with Hawk Nelson is My Friend. Songs like "Arms
Around Me" really make you stop and think about just how much love God really has for all of us. Lead singer Jason Dunn cries,
"Wrap your arms around me I know, trying hard not to let go. Every time I stand up I fall without you. When You wrap Your arms
around me I know, with me wherever I go. Nothing else matters at all when You're here."
And what's so great about Dunn's words is that they speak so true. While some of Hawk's songs are lighthearted and all of
them are fun, they contain messages that many of us so often need to hear.
The album ends on another truth in life; death. "I Still Miss You" is a great way to end the album because it has Dunn
crying out for strength from God. If there's anything that Christians need to be reminded of, it's that they can't do anything
on their own. And we don't have to.
- PReview date: 3/18/08; Review date: 3/30/08, written by Flip Choquette
Hawk Nelson Is My Friend is a lot more of the same of what fans have come to love about the Canadian pop/punk
band. While the record takes the best of their first two installments and lumps it into one strong package, a lot of
the record carries a great familiarity to it. Songs like "Turn It On" deviate a bit before its ridiculously catchy chorus
is pretty much paint-by-number pop/punk. But songs like "Not The Same" smartly introduces a bit more of an 80's pop rock flavor without
being cheesy and over-the-top (like some of Stellar Kart's recent material). "Arms Around Me" could be mistaken stylistically as a
sequel to "Everything You Ever Wanted," but exceeds its predecessor with much more poignant lyrics. And it's songs like
this one that return the band to more of the spiritual heart the debut so infectiously possessed.
If fans were disappointed by the last album, they should feel a bit more compensated by this one. It may not break ground or reinvent
what you know about the band, but it's pretty hard not to like.|
- John DiBiase of Jesusfreakhideout.com