After you have a few albums go platinum, one double platinum, a ton of hits, including your own greatest hits album, have started your own record label, and have headlined a few highly successful tours, what do you do next? For dc Talk, the answer is simple... release solo projects. Each member has decided to do their own separate solo project in their own style. To prep their fans with a little something extra before the albums' releases, they've put together Solo: Special Edition. Solo features two tracks from each solo project and a new live song from the band as a whole.
The CD opens with dc Talk's live rendition of the famous U2 song, "40." It's a good live recording and a good praise song. It was cool to finally hear their rendition recorded because when they played it live when I first saw their concert in 1995 before the release of Jesus Freak. I was disappointed it wasn't on the album and am delighted it has finally been recorded. The short song fades out and Michael Tait's band Tait follows with their pop/rock tunes "Alibi" and "All You Got." While the latter is more of a rock ballad, the prior is a catchy, more upbeat song. With the talents of Pete Stewart on guitar, Lonnie Chapin on bass and his brother Chad Chapin on drums, Tait has a strong musical backdrop for his irresistible voice that makes his solo work the best of the three men's efforts.
Kevin Max steps up to the solo batting plate next. "Return of the Singer" opens as if it were about to turn into a techno dance song, but K-Max's voice kicks in and before long drums and bass join him to form a techno/pop/rock blend. When the chorus drops, it almost completely is pop/rock song with the techno sensibilities fading to serve as a musical railroad track to carry the song along. Kevin's voice fits and the music fits his eccentric personality perfectly. Such is true with the slow, calm groove of "Be," a song that encourages the listener to be themselves and to try to be real. This song is almost dc Talk-like but is different enough to stand alone as a Kevin Max original. The songs all have a tiny tinge of dc Talk to them, which of course is expected, but are all good in their own uniqueness as works outside the dc Talk label.
Toby Mac's tunes are no surprise. "Somebody's Watching" is a rap/hip hop tune which pulls a chorus influenced by the famous song from the 80s by Rockwell called "Somebody is Watching." Toby's song features female vocal support by Joanna Valencia and pulls off nicely as a well-structured hip hop cut. The disc ends with Toby's "Extreme Days" song, which is also featured on the movie soundtrack by the same name released 2 months prior. For the fans who have yet to hear this one, Toby slams at the listener with this Kid Rock-like tune which blends modern rock and hip hop with the end result delivering quite the powerful song.
Solo is an excellent way of introducing fans to the solo careers of the members of one of the most popular Christian acts around. Solo is definitely worth a listen.- Review date: 4/4/01, written by John DiBiase
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