Grunge must have been a popular genre indeed, because "Post-grunge" is still going strong and shows no signs of abating in popular music. Perhaps all that down to earth flannel and sludgy guitar tones reached further than anyone thought they would because the music conveyed true emotion and passion more than hair spray, spandex and screeching guitar lines ever did. 3 Doors Down, Creed and Nickleback are still selling out venues with their low, Pearl Jam-lite sounds crunchy guitars and low, growling vocals. Perhaps, because the emotional nature of grunge music plays into the natural missional nature of Christian Rock, it has found a near-permanent home on BEC Recordings and its flagship artist Jeremy Camp.
Ten years ago, Camp emerged from the North West with his imposing, low-tone voice and compelling personal testimony in the form of his debut album Stay. Arriving just in time to catch the end wave of the new worship movement, Camp's debut was a successful mix of surging, worshipful rockers and the compelling storyline of the then-recent death of Camp's wife from cancer. This testimony gave songs like "Walk By Faith" and "Understand" an added sense of weight and purpose. "Take My Life," perhaps Camp's best rocker, hits all the post-grunge notes perfectly, the urgent vocals, the growling guitars and the angsty plea for the Lord to "take my life, take my rights" because "I am yours."
These songs and more are featured on Camp's first comprehensive collection of hits, I Still Believe - The Numer Ones Collection. While Camp's songs can sometimes mesh together and sound homogenous on his individual albums, an overview of his popular songs reveals a bit more diversity. "There Will Be A Day" is a hopeful, slightly left-of-center (for someone as straight forward as Camp that is) song of hope about waiting for the end of the world. The additional female vocals provided by Camp's wife, Adie (a talented artist in her own right), counterpoints the tune nicely. "Take You Back" and "Wait" are also nice, sincere tunes, but a little more artistry and metaphor might have carried the messages further. Camp is also a competent cover artist, and opting to cover the old hymn "Give Me Jesus" was a good choice.
Camp's obvious sincerity and sense of ministry are refreshing, but one wishes he would take a few more chances with his music in the next ten years. A little more metaphor, a few more guitar chord combinations and some more creative production choices will only add to Camp's ministry and make the next hits collection a more diverse and interesting brew. But call it what you want, Post-grunge or whatever; Camp makes passionate rock and roll.- Review date: 3/30/12, written by Tincan Caldwell of Jesusfreakhideout.com
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