Paul Alan certainly isn't a household name, but you might have heard some of his work. His first solo album, Falling Awake, offered the single "She's The Reason," while, more recently, hit song "Bring You Back" from his sophomore effort, Drive it Home, broke into the top ten at radio.
While most of Paul Alan's contemporary songs could be put into a boat with Brian Littrell and Chasen, a couple whiffs of "Bring You Back," "Wreckage," and "Bethlehem" open up a few more comparisons for the Michigan native. His music is probably correctly categorized as adult contemporary seeing as seven of Drive It Home's ten tracks have the light pop sound that can't be mistaken as rock or worship music. The guitar driven "Canyon" uses some twang in the soft ballad, and a similar hint of southern music appears briefly on the title track. Usually the song structure stays straightforward (like the ending ballad "Find Our Way," but songs like the light rock "Scars" are more progressive.
The rock songs on the album are fairly good. The finely tuned "Bring You Back" features a driving electric guitar which gives the album an out-of-place intense feeling. The vocals in "Wreckage" are demanding, but Alan rises to the occasion brilliantly and makes the song into a very memorable upbeat rock song. "Bethlehem" also uses an impressive rock sound that incorporates some really impressive riffs at the last chorus, and, while not as hard as the before mentioned songs, "When The Sun Goes Down" is a surprisingly good emotional pop tune. But all of these tracks, while solid and very listenable, are not outstanding or original.
The lyrics of "To Bring You Back" reveal some notable songwriting by Alan as he describes Matthew 18 and shares the depth of God's love ("And I left the ninety-nine to find the one/and you're the one/I walked a thousand miles in this desert sun Only to bring you back"). "Come to Jesus" and "Find Our Way" are straightforward with worship-like lyrics, while "Wreckage" offers a simple message of calling for help ("pull me out of the wreckage/drag me out of this burning disaster that is my foolish pride"). Neither "Bethlehem" nor "Another Silent Night" are Christmas tracks like their titles might suggest, but the former closes out a great song with "I don't want a religious experience/I just want to know you/How do I boil this whole thing down to God so loved the world?"
Nothing is very flashy on Drive It Home, as the ballads are nothing unheard of and the rock songs can be quickly forgotten under the steam roller of new rock tunes. However, the lyrics are meaningful and relevant today without being cheesy, which makes Paul Alan's sophomore project an enjoyable ride.- Review date: 8/10/09, written by Nathaniel Schexnayder of Jesusfreakhideout.com
Record Label: Whiplash Records
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