Rather than further exploring the theatrical stylings of The White Room, Jonathan Thulin opted for a more energetic and accessible approach with Science Fiction. Loaded with creative synthesizers, catchy beats, and impressive vocal prowess, Science Fiction is brimming with modern pop goodness. Lyrically, each song is based on a single prominent metaphor (often deriving from folklore and fantasy) creating a subtle thematic cohesion. To make things even more interesting, Thulin brings on seven guest vocalists--most of which enhance the character of the album.
"Time Traveler" sets the lively tone for the album with its dance-oriented beat and addictive chorus. This lighthearted tune presents a gospel message cloaked in a sci-fi metaphor: "You wipe the past just like I'm a time traveler." Cranking up the bass, "Jekyll and Hyde" boasts a reverb heavy kick drum and a dynamic mixture of strings and synthesizers. Though it covers the serious topic of hypocrisy, it comes across more entertaining than convicting. Skipping ahead, "Hat Trick" stands out in the middle of the pack with its sharp Egyptian-styled synthesizers and slick rap from Derek Minor. Thulin dazzles and deceives us as a magician in this satirical piece about pretending to be someone you are not. One thing to note here is the phrase "hat trick" is used way too many times (36 to be exact). The vulnerable "Six Feet Under" offers hope for those who are trapped beneath the weight of addiction. The electronic background and steady drums are eloquently accented with strings for this lightly theatrical tune.
Two of the strongest tracks, "Mockingbird" and "The Ruins," are found towards the end of the album. Fans of The White Room will find "Mockingbird" particularly outstanding with its theatrical musical environment and stellar vocal performances by Thulin, Kevin Max and Shine Bright Baby's Emily Fertig. The album's sole balled, "The Ruins," is a beautiful duet between Thulin and Moriah Peters over a slow piano. Gracefully penned by Thulin and Charmaine, this song is based on Matthew 7:24-27 where Jesus tells the parable of the man who built his house on the rock. Closing track "The Theory" is a black sheep with its random AC sound and lack of a distinct metaphor. It's a decent song on its own, but in the context of this project, it ends a superb album on an uneven note.
Jonathan Thulin has been emerging as one of Christian pop's most promising artists, and it's easy to see why. His music bleeds innovation, his vocal range is amazing, and his songwriting is solid. Not everyone will love the shift away from Thulin's "epic pop" sound, but nonetheless, Science Fiction is a worthy follow up to The White Room. With no skippable songs and a handful of standouts, Science Fiction is a fun and well-rounded album.- Preview Review date: 2/20/15, Review date: 3/6/15, written by Christopher Smith of Jesusfreakhideout.com
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