It's safe to say Jon McLaughlin has had a pretty accomplished career so far. He has appeared in a Disney movie, toured with some high-end mainstream acts, and performed in front of 32 million at the Oscars. The singer/songwriter has been around since 2003, steadily releasing records throughout the years. His latest, Promising Promises, is exactly what the first word in the title says: Promising.
Promising Promises begins with the title track, and it's easy to see that the album will be piano driven. The song is extremely catchy and also shows off the vocals of McLaughlin. With some added guitars and soaring vocals, it sets the stage for the rest of the album. "You Never Know" follows and slows down the pace from the beginning track. The song keeps the piano while adding in some hand claps and guitar. There's a little bit of a southern twang to the track, which actually fits well into the grand scheme.
For the next track, enter Sara Bareilles. Bareilles, one of the judges from the recently cancelled The Sing-Off (R.I.P.), makes a guest appearance on "Summer is Over." The song is rather somber, talking about a break-up between a couple who have been together for quite some time. The different vocal tones work so well together that it's like it's meant to be. (Side project, anyone?)
"What I Want," the fifth song, is upbeat, poppy, and explores the topic of living life freely. "I'll Follow You" will be a song that is played at countless weddings, and " My Girl Tonight" once again talks about the opposite gender. Despite the common topic of the last two, these three songs are all brilliant showcases of McLaughlin's sheer and raw talent through instruments and vocals.
If you're looking for a blatant God-centered message throughout the record, it's just not that obvious. But if you're looking for good, pure, and quality music from an up-and-coming musician, I highly suggest picking this up and giving it a listen. If you don't enjoy it the first time, give it another shot. This combined effort of guitar, piano, and pop will grow on you.- Review date: 5/19/12, written by Jake Underwood of Jesusfreakhideout.com
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