"The idea of being more powerful and useful, when realizing God's design for your life, was a truth I wanted to convey. People in modern society seem to be chameleon-like, never wanting to be individual, always wanting to please the masses. Becoming a faceless, bland brand of every diluted idea that culture can come up with. We can become more than we know, if we seek out the mystery of God and his blueprint for our lives." dc Talk's Kevin Max has successfully created a solo album with a musical and lyrical uniqueness that seems to fit his characteristics we've come to know perfectly. Stereotype Be, much like the other solo albums by the members, takes you inside the head of a one third of one of the most popular Christian acts of all time.
The album begins with the electronic world music of "Return of the Singer," a song that sets up the album nicely, but isn't the best of his work. However, the album highlights do begin quickly with "Existence," a haunting uniquely orchestrated musical piece. Kevin's vocals vary throughout the album stretching his abilities and proving a versatility that wasn't so apparent through his work with dc Talk. With a middle eastern twang to open before becoming dominated by passionate piano chords and Max's vocals, the song even breaks for a well-placed rap (not performed by Max).
"Be," follows, more or less the theme for the album. Kevin explains in an official bio, "I wanted to write an anthem, a song about self-realization. It became the cornerstone song for the project." It becomes clear what Kevin's goal is through the lyrics of the album as a whole, and especiall with "Be," as he insists, "Be yourself/ Don't let the losers tell you what to do/ Be yourself/ there's no one who does it quite like you/ Be yourself/ cause if you don't, who is going to?"
"Angel With No Wings" takes the tempo up a notch with a more acoustic/rock pop song, while holding on to the same lyrical theme. "Dead End Moon" is another album highlight, probably one of the best songs on the album. In the same feel as "Existence," it has a slightly haunting feel as Kevin's voice moans and wails over the intro supported by a fast percussion-based beat. His voice simply sings the opening lines before breaking into a passionate chorus which he stretches to higher notes than the listener is probably used to. It all works beautifully together.
As should be expected from Kevin Max, with his fans familiar with his poetry, the album takes a brief break with a spoken poem in "Union of the Soul," supported by solemn instrumentation. "I Don't Belong," is yet another album highlight, a passionate pop/rock ballad. The album concludes with another spoken poem by Max, but don't think things stop there. The hidden track, "You" should not be missed. The worshippful rock tune makes you wonder why it's hidden, but indeed it does differ considerably musically and lyrically from the rest of the album.
Kevin Max presents an solo album quite different from the norm of his band dc Talk, but goes on to create an album so unique, so tight, and so good to listen to, you can only look forward to more solo projects from these guys.- Review date: 8/5/01, written by John DiBiase
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