Despite noteworthy success in both the Christian and mainstream arenas, California native Beckah Shae may be one of music's most successful best-kept secrets. To be sure, even with a Dove nomination, a half dozen singles on the Billboard Christian Singles chart, and appearances on albums by everyone from American blues prodigy Jonny Lang and platinum-selling R&B singer Montell Jordan (of "This Is How We Do It" fame) to CCM mainstay TobyMac, most listeners would be hard-pressed to name even one of her songs.
Her latest release may or may not change all that, but that doesn't take away from the fact that it is still filled with an exemplary and generous assortment of tracks that are as melodically infectious as they are lyrically uplifting. On the latter front, Shae tosses in just the right balance of humble vulnerability and confident self-affirmation. Indeed, for every time she sings "Even when I want to quit/ I just keep on pushing it/ Determined to make a hit," she's quick to balance such sentiments with a clear reference to the source of such strength, as she does on cuts like "Vision."
Sonically, despite its overall adherence to the dance-pop idiom, Champion's grooves are anything but homogenous, as the nimble transition from the smooth, techno-tinged title song to the insistent, driving chants of "Heartbeat" and the classic-soul-meets-pop underpinning of "Me and My God" more than ably prove. To be sure, the project's relative eclecticism, which is only heightened by guest slots from some of Christian music's most revered practitioners from a wide array of genres (Crystal Lewis, T-Bone, Israel Houghton), may well be its strongest selling point.
There isn't anything on the record destined to rewrite the dance-pop rule book or convert hordes of listeners to the idiom. But those with an existing appreciation for toe-tapping inspirational fare will find that Shae's buoyant, beat-heavy new album is a rock-solid endeavor that matches, or perhaps even surpasses, the better portion of work done by other artists of her ilk, regardless of whether they happen to belong to the CCM or general-market camps.- Review date: 12/12/17, written by Bert Gangl of Jesusfreakhideout.com
Record Label: Shae Shoc Records
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