For a restless, life-is-an-epic generation, Love & The Outcome's self-titled debut has plenty to say. Husband and wife duo Jodi King and Chris Rademaker met on the road, married, and melded their separate musical careers into one. From a mix of Rademaker's rock sensibilities and King's pop-driven influences, Love & the Outcome was born, and the couple decided to take a risk, sell almost everything they owned, and travel the world to share their songs with all who would listen. Those few years of journeying led the duo to signing with Word Records, a platform to share their music with even more people, and the result is Love & the Outcome's self-titled album, a catchy introduction to the duo, showcasing bright pop rock sounds and a deep trust in God.
Opening track "When We Love" sets the stage with a catchy tune, but the real spirit of their music is best summarized in the album highlight and lead radio single, "He is with Us." The song opens with a relatable question -- "Remember when / Your hope is lost and faith was shaken" -- and rises toward the proclamation of total reliance on God. Musically, it's a perfect mixture of King's cheery, sweet vocals with a strong, anthemic chorus. Even the most jaded CCM listener might find it challenging to listen through the song's buildup without feeling inclined to chant along "He is with us, He is with us / Always! Always!"
From there, this album proves itself to be a collection of solid, feel-good songs, with few surprises. Themes of trust and reminders of God's providing nature are woven all throughout the lyrics, whether imploring listeners to "Ask" God to meet their needs, declaring Him the "King of My Heart," or asking HIm to create a pure "Heart Like You," the songs are decidedly Christ-focused and upbeat. Even "The Story You're Building in Me," a piano-based ballad that takes an personal turn as it reflects on childhood nostalgia and the loss of a loved one, doesn't linger on sadness too long but circles back to the positive in the midst of life's good and bad, remembering "the things that matter in life."
Musically, it's solid, cheerful pop rock straight through, with a surprise sneaked in here and there. "Bring Us Back" has a drum vibe that makes a fun 80s throwback, and "City of God" takes its inspiration from global sounds and the couple's travels to places from Liberia to China, an appropriate celebration of the world-spanning community of believers. The songs have enough variation to keep the record interesting and pleasant, but don't expect too much deviation from the CCM norm.
From the rockstar cool of the cover (complete with an old convertible and graffiti-esque title font) to the spacious, anthemic sound of some of the bigger tracks, Love & the Outcome is a record that exudes confidence and invites listeners into a bigger story, yet remains thematically relatable enough to serve those whose adventures don't necessarily lie somewhere down the open road. It's not too musically or lyrically ambitious, and though the optimistic message is uplifting, this reviewer can't help but wonder what sort of songs they will write a few more years down the road. Still, this debut works, both as a snapshot in a young couple's journey and an inspiring, God-centered soundtrack for the traveller in us all.
- Review date: 8/25/13, written by Jen Rose of Jesusfreakhideout.com