Get Your Music on Amazon!
Get Your Music on Amazon!

JFH Music Review


Stephen Stanley, 'Divided Frame of Mind'
CLICK COVER TO ENLARGE

Stephen Stanley
Divided Frame of Mind



Genre(s): Rock / Pop
Album length: 14 tracks: 44 minutes, 6 seconds
Street Date: July 21, 2023


READER RATING:   


Stephen Stanley's debut album, Divided Frame of Mind, is possibly one of the "biggest" releases to have slipped under the radar this year. It was poised for success with the major-label backing of Capitol CMG / Sparrow, having a viral Tik Tok song with "Whatever It Takes," and notable features from Tommee Proffit, Riley Clemmons, and MuteMath's Darren King. Yet, even now, several months out from its July 2023 release, you'll be hard pressed to find significant coverage for the release. It's a shame, because it is a fantastic album.

When Stephen Stanley first signed with Capitol CMG in 2021, we received a few pretty typical K-LOVE-friendly singles and an EP, but Divided Frame of Mind feels like an intentional shift in another direction. Stylistically, the album boasts an alternative rock sound with catchy hooks and big-sounding electric guitars. If a comparison to another artist comes to mind while listening to a track, the next song challenges that conclusion - take a listen to the 80's synths on "Outta My Mind," the fuzzy rock n' roll guitars of "Taking It Back," or the 2000's radio-rock vibe of "Whatever It Takes," for example. But it's not all for the sake of variety. There is a musical and thematic cohesion in the flow of the album in the way it takes us on a journey through Stephen Stanley's mind and his struggles with mental health. There are a few tracks that really clue you in that this album is a fully designed listening experience as opposed to a collection of singles. The 1-minute intro track sets up the theme of mental health over an atmospheric musical backdrop, "Taking It Back" serves as a "climax" featuring explosive drum work from MuteMath's Darren King, and the contemplative piano ballad "Where I've Been" is a fitting closing track declaring "there's gotta be a silver lining / God I need this road to bend / don't let my feet fail me / 'cause where I'm going ain't where I've been."

Ultimately, every song points to God as the source of rest and safety. But the way Stephen Stanley crafts his lyrics and bears his heart feels raw and sometimes even unresolved, rather than the neatly-tied bows we often hear on Christian radio. It's refreshing. While the songwriting is excellent, perhaps what is most distinct about Stephen Stanley's music is his voice - specifically the way he uses it. When he is singing normally, his voice almost could be described as a blend of Chris Llewellyn and Zach Williams, but he often shifts into a gruff yell, that sounds like he's about to crack, for large chunks of a song. The orchestrated ballad "Run and Hide" is a great example of the shift between these two vocal styles and hearing him sing-yelling over gentle strings and piano feels very brave.

What Stephen Stanley accomplishes on Divided Frame of Mind may not be immediately obvious from listening to individual tracks or even the first pass through the album. There's some surface level familiarity in the music, but there is a depth to everything that becomes more clear and compelling with each subsequent listen. On top of that, this album is surely a case of being greater than the sum of its parts. It's an album that keeps drawing you back in because it has both substance and style - equal parts enjoyable and impactful. If this one slipped by you this year, do yourself a favor and spend some time with it. Highlights include the entire first half of the album and the duet with Riley Clemmons, "Note To Self."

- Review date: 12/20/23, written by Christopher Smith of Jesusfreakhideout.com



(JFH Sponsor Spot)

Listen to the new album from Charming to the Last!

 

. Record Label: Capitol CMG
. Album length: 14 tracks: 44 minutes, 6 seconds
. Street Date: July 21, 2023
. Buy It: Apple Music
. Buy It: AmazonMP3

  1. Divided Frame Of Mind (1:03)
  2. The Edge (3:23)
  3. Outta My Mind (3:14)
  4. Holding Me Up (2:57)
  5. Whatever It Takes (3:30)
  6. Run And Hide (3:18)
  7. The Heat (3:33)
  8. I'll Carry You (3:56)
  9. About To Rain (2:32)
  10. Taking It Back (feat. DK) (2:18)
  11. Clean (3:18)
  12. Rest In The Father (3:16)
  13. Note To Self (3:06)
  14. Where I've Been (4:34)

 

 



Leave a Comment

 

 

go to main Album review page
go to Album review archive

 


(JFH Sponsor Spot)

 

 

                 
Listen to the new album from Charming to the Last!

Search JFH




This Sunday, February 18, 2024
ALBUMS
Spoken Worth A.C.T.S. - EP (independent)

This Friday, February 23, 2024
ALBUMS
Eonia Passing [The Charon Collective]
Anthony Evans REVIVE [Sherman James]
Steven Malcolm BOATS [IVAV/Word]
Switch Symphony (Deluxe Edition) [DREAM]
Zauntee We Already Won [BEC]

SINGLES
Anchor Hymns Where Else Can I Go - Single [Integrity]
BRIGHT Heart of Worship (Remix) (feat. Matt Redman) - Single [Integrity]
Canyon Hills Worship Prayer For This Gathering - Single [DREAM]
Aaron Cole I Love It - Single [Provident]
Matt Hammitt Packed Up Your Love - Single (independent)
Open Heaven My Story - Single [DREAM]
Nate Parrish Bad Excuse - Single (independent)
The Rocket Summer Don't Be Yourself - Single [Aviate]
Matt Sassano Happy Family - Single (independent)
Ayo Shamir Ten Cuidado (Be Careful) Pt. 1 - Single (independent)
The Talleys Hallelujah Praise The Lamb (Live) - Single [Crossroads]
Gileah Taylor Dream Explorer - Single [Velvet Blue]
Tedashii IYKYK - Single [Reach]
Uche Agu & Revival Today Worship Something Good - Single [DREAM]
We Are Messengers My Hope Is In You (feat. Blanca) - Single [Curb]

Next Friday, March 1, 2024
ALBUMS
Josh Baldwin Made for More [Bethel]
Free Worship My Soul Sings (Deluxe Edition) [BEC]
Hillsong Chapel A Call to Worship - EP [Capitol CMG]
Branan Murphy Life is Hard. God is Good. [DREAM]
Passion Call on Heaven [Capitol CMG]

SINGLES
Mark Tedder Miracles - If people will pray - Single [7Core]
We Are Messengers I Found Rest - Single [Curb]


For all release dates, click here!
 



Listen to the new album from Altarheart!




Pre-order the new album from Signum Regis!

Check out depositphotos for royalty free images