Debuts are delicate; that is, they can either make or break an artist early on in their career. Get it right, and the album becomes a hit. But fail to produce something people like, and it can take a little while for an artist to regain attention with a sophomore release. So how does Josh Wilson's debut album on Sparrow Records qualify?
On many albums, the artist tends to push one of their more upbeat offerings to the fore as the opener. Not surprisingly, Josh Wilson continues this tradition on Trying To Fit The Ocean In A Cup; and frankly, why wouldn't he? It's a tried-and-true method of grabbing someone's attention, and encouraging them to continue listening to the album. However, "The Saints" may be upbeat, but it isn't what you'd call outstanding… at least, not compared to some of the other songs on this album. It is possible that a more acoustic leaning may have improved it, as the driving electric guitars and drums bury what could otherwise have been a better song; something that is evident in the quieter verses. Following on its heels, "Saviour Please," is a plea for help from a broken man. Lyrically, this song is beautiful, stating, "I tried to be good enough/ but I'm nothing without your love/ Saviour, please, keep saving me." Not only are the lyrics from the heart, but the song itself has a soaring, worshipful tone to it. Once you reach the third track, though, Josh starts to display his true skill in crafting something witty, catchy and uplifting. Here he honestly admits that "I've got a hundred metaphors/ and if I had a million more/ I could never, ever seem to sum this up/ Besides, how could some melody/ communicate eternity/ It's like trying to fit the ocean in a cup."
"Let Me Love You" is among the album's highlights, with an appealing pop sound and chorus that still bounce around in your head long after hearing it. It definitely has the potential to become a radio hit. Another stand out track is "Oak Avenue," a poignant ballad, which tells the story of someone whose friend was involved in an automobile accident with the lyrics mourning over unresolved resentment.
So to answer the earlier-posed question, yes; Josh Wilson has recorded an album that is enjoyable, catchy, and full of relevant Christian themes from one end to the other. The debut may not perfect, occasionally suffering from a bit of overproduction and lack of acoustics; but it remains a promising debut. And I can't help looking forward to what we'll be treated to on a sophomore project from Josh Wilson.- Review date: 5/14/08, written by Adam Dawson
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