December 1st, 2010
Artist: Tye Tribbett
Label: Axis Music Group/Columbia
Formats: CD, MP3
Release date: October 19, 2010
Since the release of the album Life in 2004, the names Tye Tribbett and Greater Anointing (GA) have become synonymous with a certain sound. Powerful yet complex choral vocals, an impressive band, and an outspoken, energetic lead that have come together to create such contemporary gospel songs as “Victory” and “Stand Out.” However, after “indiscretions” tore through the group last fall, Tribbett disbanded GA and after a brief sabbatical is now embarking on a solo career. His first solo project Fresh is clearly indicative of this new chapter in his career as this album explores sonic dimensions new to Tribbett’s repertoire such as strong rock and pop music influences. While Tribbett performs the majority of the background vocals, several tracks feature other artists such as Mali Music, Lowell Pye, and Israel Houghton.
The title track “Fresh” opens the album as a type of quick tempo declaration that this project is definitively different from his other musical endeavors. Featuring a significant use of synthesizers and Auto-Tune (unlike much of his earlier work), “Fresh” petitions God for something new, bold, and supernatural. However, the following track “Good” is a glimpse of the highly rhythmic, energetic, and danceable songs for which Tribbett is known. The presence of rock inspired electric guitar gives this song an edge while complementing the driving rhythms articulated by the drums.
In a different vein, “Eulogy” is one of the most contemplative and biblically metaphorical selections on the album. With a guest appearance by Mali Music, the song reflects one of the two major recurring themes that appear on this album. Here, Tribbett espouses the necessity of transformation (i.e., death to the old self and the birth of the new) as expressed by Paul in Ephesians 4:22. Following is a brief clip where Tribbett discusses his inspiration for the song:
The song “Champion” presents the second major theme: victory and freedom can be accessed through God. Featuring Israel Houghton, “Champion” is a praise and worship song that effectively compliments the musical styles of the two artists using simple call and response between the leaders and the ensemble.
Expressing a range of emotions and musical styles, Fresh is in some ways a response to the difficulties Tribbett has faced over the last year. With messages of new beginnings as well as explorations into new aural pallets, this album appears to be the expressions of someone who is seeking forgiveness and looking to start anew. Initially, I approached this project with expectations based on Tribbett’s previous works with GA. However, I soon realized that it was not a just treatment to listen to this project with the expectations that Tribbett as a solo artist would in some ways “replicate” the work he did with GA. Fresh does not attempt to recreate that chemistry or the sound of GA, but rather presents the inspirational and thoughtful exploration of an artist who is embarking on a new chapter in his career.
Reviewed by Raynetta Wiggins
Review Genre(s): Gospel Music and Spirituals