Most pop/rock fans know Ian Eskelin already from his All Star United fame. What few probably remember is Ian was on his own long before ASU became a band. In fact, ASU was formed from Ian's live solo shows when they served as his backup band. 2004 sees the return of Ian to the solo scene for the first time in a decade with his InPop Records debut Save The Humans.
Save The Humans doesn't stray very far from the pop-glazed alt rock sound of All Star United, but Eskelin does venture out a bit into worship music for a change. "Shout" leads off, a pop anthem encouraging listeners to live for Christ loudly through our actions and not our words. A catchy tune that could easily have been on an ASU record, "Shout" makes for a worthy album opener. "Solid Rock," a remake of the classic hymn, follows a similar formula as a boistrous worship song while "Magnify" is an above average praise song that easily rivals most of what you'd hear from full-time "worship leaders."
The title track follows the tongue-in-cheek theme for human beings, revealing our helplessness and need for God's salvation. "Taboo" is a highlight, written and even presented stylistically in the same vein as the popular All Star United song "Smash Hit." Eskelin's lyrical genius shines through with such verses as "Taboo / there's an audible gasp / When you claim there's a God who's objectively true / It's Taboo... / Taboo / the ACLU say when we sneeze could we please drop the God Bless You / It's Taboo"
Songs like his take on "I Love To Tell the Story" and the honest and open original "Into Your Arms Again" are real gems on Save The Humans. The transparency and brokenness displayed through "Into Your Arms Again" is so relevant and familiar to anyone living the Christian life that you can't help but be drawn to it. "American Idle" is another lyrical masterpiece that Eskelin uses to take on the media and the shallowness that popularity has to offer, "Vegas lives inside my veins / Dating Britney is my dream / American idle / Cash and style / Tell me what I'm worshipping / American idle / We need a revival / Bigger than the next big thing." Beneath the sarcasm is a call to action from Christians for revival that is indeed needed today.
Fans who love All Star United will enjoy much of what Eskelin has put together for Save The Humans. Offering his own approach to the worship music genre allows for Ian to sail some musical waters he's never really explored before. It's risky, but in the end, Eskelin comes out on top. Given his work with a band as ASU, Save The Humans may not be his best work to date, but it is definitely his best solo effort. Fans of positive pop-rock and modern worship music shouldn't miss this release.- Review date: 09/20/04, written by John DiBiase
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