In 2000, Newsboys bassist Phil Joel released his first solo project on InPop Records, Watching Over You. The CD was warmly accepted by Newsboys and already Phil fans alike and produced the hit single "God Is Watching Over You." A sophomore solo project was inevitable and Fall 2002 sees the release of Bring It On.
The album opens with the more aggressive "Resolution," complete with thumping drums and an oddly unique composition. Joel seems to be more about having fun through his music this time around, a personality trait obvious during his work with the Newsboys. However, the tighter arrangement of the smartly written worshipful "Return" shows growth in Phil's songwriting easily making it an album highlight. "The Man You Want Me To Be" is another highlight, a prayerful plea to our Savior to mold us into what He desires us to be. "Passing Angel" is a beautiful piano-fueled ballad while "All So Good" is a pop/rock tune with a accompaniment provided by Joel's daughter Phynley. Although not utilized as effectively as it could have been, Phynley's vocals support the message Phil is trying to convey through the song of his thankfulness for God's gifts in his life. "All So Good" is followed-up by the sorely out-of-place "Move" where the explosive anthemic style is a nice effort but feels intrusive and disrupts the flow of the rest of the album.
"No Longer" picks up where "Return" left off and returns back to the pop with a rock edge sound Joel is striving for this time around. The album closes with the pop sounds of "Fallen In Love" and the prayerful surrender of the rock ballad "Take My Heart."
Phil Joel takes the opportunity to experiment more with his sound on Bring It On occasionally missing the mark, but for the most part succeeds in producing a fun and lyrically encouraging pop rock album.- Review date: 10/20/02, written by John DiBiase
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