Fans of dance/pop will thrill at the mention of a group solely devoted to drum loops, synthesized sounds, and fast beats. I know I did when I found the power pop quartet Raze for the first time. In January 1998, they released That's The Way EP on Forefront Records and instantly found a welcome embrace from the Christian music scene.
Starting things off with a sound you'll find throughout the short album, That's The Way introduces us to the beginning of some fun, upbeat dance tracks. The song explores "the way it's meant to be" when you have Christ in your heart: He's always there, and He will never leave. This is definitely one of the highlights of this album, even splashing in a touch of rap in the bridge.
Following up the title track is "In The Name", a track which also ended up on the group's full-length album, Power. A tid bit more organic-sounding than the first track with actual drums, it's definitely get-on-your-feet-and-move material. "Always and Forever (BFF)", also finding it's way onto Power, is perhaps Raze's most well-known song, slowing down the tone a hair with a more approachable pop sound. The track runs along the themes of friendship, and could even almost be a power pop version of Michael W. Smith's "Friends".
"Shine" takes the old Sunday School song, "This Little Light of Mine" to a whole new level, with a sound that's almost a touch like "Brighter Day" on the Power album. "Shine" really shouts out what Raze is all about: "I'm gonna let it shine / I'm gonna let it shine / I'm gonna let it shine / I've got to keep on moving." The only real downside to the track is member Ja'Marc's spoken bridge that comes across a little cheesy.
"I Need Your Love" is the only song I have a little trouble with. Parts are too repetitive, the two-line chorus sung over and over again. The rapped verses could have been executed much better than they are here, and the whole track just gets annoying after a while.
Remixes are another point I have trouble with. Aside from a few really great ones done in the Christian music industry (such as dcTalk's remix of "Say The Words (Today)"), they usually fall flat of the original. Raze rounds off their debut with three remixes, "Always & Forever (BFF) (Groovacious Mix)", "I Need Your Love (Analog Love Mix), and "That's The Way (Raze Craze Mix)", each falling short of the originals, except for the remix of "I Need Your Love", which I find much better.
All in all, Raze has given fans of dance/pop sounds a worthy debut, and aside from a few points, the That's The Way EP comes out pretty good. After all, isn't that the way it's meant to be?- Review date: 8/27/03, written by Shaun Stevenson
Record Label: Forefront Records
Album length: 8 tracks, 37 minutes and 6 seconds
Street Date: January, 1998
Buy It: Amazon.com
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