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JFH Music Review


Brandon Heath, No Turning Back
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Brandon Heath
No Turning Back



Artist Info: Discography
Genre(s): Pop
Album length: 11 tracks: 40 minutes, 38 seconds
Street Date: February 10, 2015


From the 11-song tracklist to the outdoor portrait cover art, No Turning Back is through and through a Brandon Heath album. There isn't anything groundbreaking here, but this is nonetheless an enjoyable Christ-centered project filled with skillful storytelling and that laid-back musical vibe that permeates all of his albums. Heath has always been one of the finest of the Christian radio staples, and No Turning Back will only continue to solidify that status.

Instead of further diving into the folksy and country explorations of Blue Mountain, Heath has returned to a sound that is more in line with his first two albums. "No Turning Back" is an upbeat pop/rock tune with a hefty baseline, steady drum beat, and airy guitar licks. It may have a fairly predictable song structure, but this is outweighed by the beautiful harmonies of David and Leslie from All Sons & Daughters. Two of the strongest tracks, "Girl of My Dreams" and "Sing Brave," cultivate a welcoming acoustic pop sound that make you feel like you are hanging out with him on his back porch. The piano ballad "S.O.S." carries a gloomy tone that gives the soul searching lyrics some extra weight. Surprisingly, Heath's "pop/rock over a hip hop beat" style is only represented on "One Way To Heaven." While most of these genres are pulled off remarkably well, there are two that are not quite as impressive--the modern worship song "Behold Our God" and the dub-step influences on "Only Just Met You."

Thematically, half of the record plays out as a journey back to the significant moments in his faith journey, namely when he first trusted Jesus as his savior. With the help of his warm and inviting voice, songs like "Sing Brave" and "S.O.S." effectively convey the curiosity, doubts, joy, and love that he experienced during those times. In "Sing Brave," Heath tells us about singing in front of his 2nd grade classmates, as a new believer, and now on stage. Some of the lyrics are a little cliché, but the song is so heartwarming that it ends up being an album highlight. The rest of the songs fit well with this main theme, but don't necessarily relate to the "faith story" concept, such as Jesus being the only true salvation on "One Way To Heaven" and Heath hosting a garage sale on the comedic yet convicting "Everything Must Go." Another album highlight, "Girl of My Dreams," is an intimate song about his recent marriage that perfectly blends humor ("she steals all my closets and tells me I snore") and sentiment ("she's more than a lover, she's my best friend").

It's hard to deny that Heath can pen an amazing song and craft some pleasing tunes to relax to. If you don't care for his previous releases, No Turning Back probably won't change your mind, but if you've ever been a fan of Heath's signature AC pop, you won't go wrong picking this one up.

- Preview Review date: 12/15/14; Review date: 1/21/15, written by Christopher Smith of Jesusfreakhideout.com



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JFH Staff's Second Opinion



Brandon Heath's latest release, No Turning Back, is a return to his well-known pop style, where he takes the listener on a narrative journey through various pivotal moments in his faith. The story of when Heath heard the Gospel for the first time at a Young Life camp is told in the title track where he sings, "No turning back no turning back / I'm moving on not looking back / I'm giving Him all that I have/ No turning back no turning back".

The album is a good balance between radio-friendly songs, like "One Way To Heaven," which makes the statement that there is only one way to Heaven, and "When You Look At Me," that tells about how God changed Heath's life. Then there are more stripped-down songs, like "When I Was Young" and "Girl of My Dreams"--where Heath shares personal stories from his childhood and when he met his wife.

Heath has a knack for writing songs that resonate with the listener on a deeper, more personal level. Many longtime fans will be happy to hear that Brandon has returned to his signature pop-friendly tunes, where others will also be pleased that he's sticking to his singer/songwriter roots. With the differences that Heath displayed on his last major studio release, Blue Mountain, some may have been hoping that he'd continue to go further down the singer/songwriter path, but that's just not the case with this album. Listeners may be a bit disappointed to hear a more commercial, radio friendly style here, but don't let that deter you. No Turning Back is packed with thoughtful lyrics all the way through, and there truly is something for everyone. - Review date: 1/18/15, Kaitlyn Luce

 

 

JFH Staff's Additional 2 Cents


It is a rare gift indeed for an artist to both be fully relatable and fully personal; too much of the former leads to seemingly uninspired cookie-cutter music, while too much of the latter won't reach a wide audience. Brandon Heath has no problem finding this balance on No Turning Back, with its radio-ready title track and "All I Need" mixed in among smile-manufacturing gems like "Girl Of My Dreams" and "Sing Brave." Telling a distinct (though non-linear) story of Heath's faith journey, Heath still manages to cover all his bases for his target audience; a decent corporate worship anthem in "Behold Our God," some newer electronic flair like in "Only Just Met You," and some songs like "SOS" or "When I Was Young" with strong hints of his past material. While not quite as high a peak as Blue Mountain, this is a quality release from one of CCM's best popular artists. - 2/9/15, Mark Rice of Jesusfreakhideout.com

 

 

. Record Label: Reunion/Monomode Records
. Album length: 11 tracks: 40 minutes, 38 seconds
. Street Date: February 10, 2015
. Buy It: iTunes
. Buy It: Amazon.com
. Buy It: Amazon Music (MP3)

  1. One Way To Heaven (3:48)
  2. Only Just Met You (3:47)
  3. No Turning Back (3:14)
  4. SOS (4:28)
  5. When I Was Young (2:49)
  6. All I Need (3:39)
  7. Girl Of My Dreams (3:30)
  8. When You Look At Me (4:08)
  9. Everything Must Go (3:23)
  10. Behold Our God (4:12)
  11. Sing Brave (3:48)
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