Singer-Songwriter David Dunn has been making his own brand of pop music - often Christian radio-ready - for almost a decade with BEC Recordings. His latest project, titled Boys, picks up where 2020's Perspectives left off, but just might brush off a bit of that radio sheen this time around.
Opening with single "Rushing," the album is off to a great start, offering a funky sound and a solid beat. It sounds like Dunn has found his sweet spot here. It's radio friendly but has just enough of something special to make it stand out. In an age where you'd be hard-pressed to differentiate one artist from another on Christian radio, Dunn seems to have found a way to leave his mark on this one.
"Together Alone" already slows things down a bit, but offers a solid and memorable chorus that addresses how so many of us utilize social media as a way to be together, yet separate. Dunn sings, "Do I even know who I am, or am I stuck inside some digital land where everybody goes to be together alone." "Poison" doubles down on the R&B flavor, and offers up a worshipful feel, "I turn my beauty into ashes / You turn the water into wine."
"Hymn of an Addict" uses an acoustic guitar to set the stage as Dunn sings about Jesus as a remedy for his shortcomings, "I think I found Jesus, or something like Jesus, something like freedom is breathing its way into my soul / So I think I found Jesus, or something like Jesus." The chorus chases that CCM radio feel with a piano and fuller sound, but the simpler verses definitely work with their 'less is more' approach.
"Did You Come for Me" and "Hurt Is" mostly trade in the R&B vibe for worshipful piano balladry that would probably fit right in on Christian radio. "Boy's Song" is an interesting and soulful ballad, where Dunn ruminates on a dream he had where he died and imagined his sons growing up without to him. Although he shook off the dream when he awoke, he wondered what kind of message he could leave for his boys, singing "Be good to your brother, and love on your mother / If you know something is right, do it no matter the price / When the world preaches madness, you can choose joy over sadness / This life, it's a gift. Live it like Jesus would live." The chorus is definitely an earworm, and likely to hit home with parents of sons and daughters alike.
"Control" is a solid pop song with a strong beat and lyrically talks about relenting control to the Savior, while "Livin' in the Love" is an instrumental that is barely half a minute in length and kind of leads into "The Greatest," a funky little number about loving like Jesus. Boys comes to a close with a CCM pop anthem called "Story of History" which has a bit of a Steven Curtis Chapman feel, as Dunn reflects on God's limitless kindness throughout time.
At first glance, one may wonder why an album that seems to be more about God's goodness than our earthly children would be titled Boys, but the answer to that seems to be found in its title track. Boys is a look into the faith and passion of David Dunn - as a father, husband, singer, songwriter and child of God. Boys feels like a letter to his sons about how to get by in this life as a follower of Christ, while also giving his listeners something deeper and meaningful to chew on. Musically, the album tends to sway between memorable and a bit too common, but all in all, Boys is good enough to warrant a listen -- and you just might find your spirit moving toward Jesus along the way.- Review date: 5/4/23, written by John DiBiase of Jesusfreakhideout.com
Record Label: BEC Recordings
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