Todd Agnew has enjoyed a decent amount of success on AC radio over the past few years. Each album seems to garner one big hit, along with a couple others here or there. His debut had the megahit "Grace Like Rain," followed by "My Jesus" from Reflections of Something and then "Our Great God" from his most previous album, Better Questions. Now, despite Better Questions being mediocre at best, Agnew is poised to bring his game back with his newest album, simply titled Need.
Better Questions was rough from the start, but Need does a lot better this time around, with "Joy Unspeakable." It has AC radio written all over it, and even incorporates a little bit of his southern flair, albeit only in a couple guitar licks once in a while. "Written on the Wall" is next, a song whose style works excellently with Agnew's vocal style. The song is about trying to hear God's voice, and wishing that He still just made it so plain to us what His will is by communicating to us in ways He did with people in the Old Testament. "I Need No Other" has the potential to be Agnew's big hit from this album, a slower, hymn-style song. More of the southern tinge is brought back for "Give Me Jesus," which is another song where his voice shines. More of these songs of this style is what Agnew needs to make a good album. And we get a little more of it in "Higher Ground," which features an old-time gospel-style chorus, a good mixture that Agnew was able to pull off well. A great sense of continuity in genre flows into the southern rocker, "Tell Me The Story," a highlight of Need that sounds like a mellower DecembeRadio track.
"Did You Mean Me?" slows it down for a ballad at about the halfway point of the album. It's a great song full of humility and that sense of awe that God calls us and wants to forgive us ("But You said all sins can be forgiven, But when You said that did You mean me?") It's sometimes a hard song to get through without breaking out in tears. It leads into "Gloria," a worship track that would fit well in some church's praise & worship time. "The Love of God" keeps the pace down and celebrates God's unfailing love, but "Breakable" picks back up a little bit with another good rock track. When Agnew truly puts his mind to something, he can really accomplish it well. "Deep Love" follows, resembling something you may hear in a Pentecostal church somewhere in the south, even with a small choir of a few people throwing in some soulful vocals. It's not bad, but it's not one of Need's stronger moments. The final song sounds like it could come from that same church, though it's a softer and slower song that just praises God for His justice and mercy. A great way to end the album, with not only a well-written song, but a worshipful one at that.
With Need, Todd Agnew has definitely redeemed himself after his last effort. The music is great, and his vocals seem to be at the top of his game this time around. It's not really fair to give or take away a lot of points due to the lyrics, since a majority of the lyrics throughout the album were not written by Agnew, but instead were taken from old worship songs and hymns from the public domain (which excuses the poor and/or dated lyrics like "Could we with ink the ocean fill, and were the skies of parchment made"). However, what lyrics he did write (which does include a few full songs - "Written on the Wall," "Did You Mean Me?", "Breakable" and "Jesus, The Hope of Glory") were very good and worthy of being considered some of the best lyrics of his music career.- Review date: 9/28/09, written by Scott Fryberger of Jesusfreakhideout.com
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