I read an interview from Fred Hammond a few years ago. He was recalling a dream he had. I cannot recall all the details of this dream, but basically he was given a gift box from Heaven, and God told him that inside the box were songs that ministered to Him. Not every artist was given a box. After reading that, whenever I hear an artist that blows me away, all I can think about is if they have one of those anointed gift boxes. Naturally, according to my own biases of course, I have a list of artists who do. ForeverJONES is definitely on that list.
ForeverJONES is a family band comprising three daughters, two sons, and of course two parents. The Jones family truly embraces the saying, “the family that prays together stays together.” As a matter of fact, the Jones’ have prayer together every morning at 9. Many of the songs that we know and love come from this prayer time, so the songs can’t help but to be awesome. If you’re not familiar with their name yet, then you may be familiar with their first single, He Wants it All that took the nation by storm.
ForeverJONES’ sophomore album, Musical Revival, is very current musically, vocally, and creatively. I believe the Jones family took a lot of risks with this album which were well worth taking. Regular followers of my posts know that gospel music is my heart and soul, but I have a bone to pick with it at times. However, the Jones family can rest assured that they will never catch any flack from me. Many times when gospel artists try to make music that is current (current as in something that the current generation can identify with), it mostly falls into one of two categories: Either the message is weak, but the music is hot, or the message is intact but the music is lack luster. I’m sure we’ve all heard corny gospel songs–and don’t act like you haven’t :-). There is nothing corny about this album. I love how the musical accents they used–like Auto-Tune–wasn’t over done and enhanced the track instead of BEING track. Everything was done with perfection, and it just seemed natural. It was almost like they’ve always been this way, but we’re just now catching up with them. Well…actually, that probably is right. That’s how it works when you’re faithful to God in private and He promotes or rewards you publicly.
Many times when artists first come out, they are trying to find their place, or a niche, and it takes one or two albums to solidify that. I think foreverJONES has definitely found their place–not that they weren’t in it on the first album. The Jones’ definitely understand their calling and how to reach people as well as glorify and honor God.
First of all, I didn’t even know the family band was even planning a second album. I actually purchased it a few weeks after it had been out, so I was quite surprised when I did.
I found it very surprising (and refreshing) to hear “D4” (Dewitt IV, the oldest son) sing! Unless you watch videos and performances on TV or YouTube, most people probably don’t realize that almost all the members of the family are singers. He is the bass player for the band.
I always enjoy the sister duets, and this CD is not without a duet with Dominique and D’Jeniele. Like Mary Mary, these sisters have very similar voices, and at times it’s hard to determine which one is singing. Only a keen ear can tell the difference unless there is help from a video.
I thoroughly enjoyed the vocal arrangements. I’m sure Dominique had a lot to do with it as she did on the first album. I love how the dramatic, exciting tracks complimented the strong, intentional lyrics. I wish I could put into words what I mean by that, but every time I start to explain I trip over myself. Just get the CD and you’ll know what I’m talking about.
I love a good bridge, and this CD is full of good bridges. I call this CD bridge city :-). In general, I love a good surprise. I love to be taken by surprise by an excellent bridge. Change the key on me. Change the tempo. Throw in some extra instruments. Make me say, “NICE!!” There were a lot of “NICE” moments for me on this album.
The only thing that disappointed me was that there wasn’t a cameo from Mya. I call her “baby Jones.” Her cameo at the end of Time to Believe was so cute and sweet, and I wanted another taste of her, but she was nowhere to be found 😦 Maybe next time. Of course, she’s a few years older now, so her voice is probably mature enough to hold down the fort in the BGV section with the rest of the group. If that’s true, I will be waiting on a solo from her next 🙂
As always, there are never enough songs on the albums…but then again, the CD can’t last FOREVER! LOL, all good things must come to an end.
The first track is Hallelujah. What a way to start a CD! Not only is hallelujah the highest praise, but the lyrics in Hallelujah are solid. It’s like a declaration, declaring to God who He is to you. It says, “Hallelujah! You are big in me. My identity is in You. Who I really am is in You. Everything I need is in You.” That is how you begin something. Those lyrics to me say, “This is who we are. This is what we’re about. Deal with it.” Later on the bridge says, “All my fears and inhibitions fade away when I recognize.” Excellence at its best.
Another thing I like about foreverJONES is that their songs have movement. They take you on a journey either through the music, or with the words. The tracks have depth and texture, and that makes for a very enjoyable musical experience.
Track 3 is You Are Welcome. This song is led by mom Jones (Kim), and I always enjoy her songs. It creates another layer to have the parents come from the “old school.” This track was not old school musically, but the lyrics are. Well, I don’t know that for sure, but just listening to the words I could tell they came from someone with a long history with God. She says, “We’ve been waiting for You. We prepared a table for You. So glad You made it. So nice to see You. And, in case You didn’t notice, You are welcome here.” Young folks don’t know anything about preparing a table (just kidding). This is another song with a great bridge (another refreshing moment with D4). It says, “I don’t have an agenda, really, no expectations. I just want to be with you.” Isn’t that just how we need to be? We’re so scheduled with our jam-packed lives. We just need to sit down somewhere and just BE with God. I love chorus as well. It says, “You are welcome here. There’s no resistance in this house. You are always welcome.” That’s all He wants!
This next song I want to talk about–my absolute favorite–requires me to “set the stage.” Now, we all know that God is love. We know how much…well, we can verbalize how much He loves us, but sometimes it’s difficult to believe. We know that God is crazy in love with us. We even have “pet names” for Him like LOVER of my soul. However, because we’re uptight Christians, at times we reduce God’s love to a few select words or actions. Like, we know that God so loved the world He gave His only begotten Son, but I don’t think we think about what that really means. I don’t even scratch the surface in this post, but check it out. Anyway, I don’t see how we can tell people how much God loves us but yet keep Him in a box. Think about two lovers and what lovers do–and I’m not talking about sex. Think about how they try to top each other’s acts of love. Think about how they would die for each other. Think about how they say they can’t live without each other. And the PDA?! I can go on and on about lovers, but you get the picture of how people act when they are in love. However, we never think of God in that way! I mean, the greatest PDA was the crucifixion! It can’t get any more deep than that. Anyway, I said all of that so you wouldn’t think I was totally off my rocker as I describe this next song.
The only word I can come up with to describe Just the Way is sexy. That song is straight up SEXY, and I don’t mean it in a carnal way. First of all, this is a straight up slow jam. Whoever created that track is a genius. And the way “Doe” sings the song…OMG! When I listen to that song I feel like I have just been wooed by God! I feel like I am so special to Him–well, I am :-). In this song, God is pretty much defining the relationship. He’s telling you that He is committed to thing, He’s not leaving, you can’t escape Him, there is no limit to His love, and He made a vow to chase you until the end. Now, if that was a man saying that to me I’d be quite afraid because it sounds a bit “stalkerish,” (LOL) but God would never do anything to hurt you, and in His hands you are safe (Every Moment in Your Hands is also a great song, by the way). The chorus says, “…and that’s just the way I love you. That’s just the way I chase you. That’s just the way I like it–the only way I know to.” Ain’t that sexy?! I soo appreciate the risk the Jones’ took by even writing this song because you know and I know that there are some religious tight wads out there criticizing this song RIGHT NOW. This song is so well done. I love God’s love songs! I wrote about another one the other day.
Musical Revival was also refreshing. Another song that sounds very “2012.” This is probably another song that’s being criticized by the tight wads because it’s not really a “spiritual” song. It is, but it isn’t. But, whoever said that a song has to talk about Jesus to be spiritual? Here we go putting gospel music in a box again! This song talks about music itself and the power it has and how we need to start a musical revival. I love the line in the song when she (D’Jeniele) says, “it’s light as a feather, but it’s hot” (talking about what you get when you put a song together). If people can’t find the message in that, then they are just being religious!
Now, this next song I’ve adopted as my “namesake.” Let me get on my soap box for a moment. I believe that it is VERY important to give your children a name that means something–something good! I’m sure a lot of people think that name meanings don’t carry any weight, but I beg to differ. I’ll have to write about that sometime. Anyway, name your kids something that matters, but also find out what YOUR name means. If it’s not too positive, then spin it until it is :-). Anyway, my name (Jessica) actually has several meanings, but most of them are just variations of the two main meanings: blessed one, and one who God sees. That’s GOOD STUFF! I definitely feel my name has meaning in my life. Anyway, another one of my favs on this CD is I See You. Check out this chorus!
I see you in all you do.
You’re not just a face in the crowd.
I know your name
I’m in touch with your smile.
I’ve been watching you for a while.
I see you.
That song has ME written all over it! Sorry Jones family…it’s no longer your song. It’s mine! 🙂 It’s ironic that I know that’s what my name means, and I know it to be true, but that’s one of the main things that I constantly need reassurance on. I constantly feel like God doesn’t see me or pay attention, but of course He does. He reminds me all the time, and this song will serve as an excellent reminder!
This is the song I think has the best bridge! The key changes, and the piano comes in along with the pluck of violin strings. It almost sounds like a harp is playing! It’s so light and airy–almost ethereal. And to top it off, check the lyrics!
I see more than you think I do
Numbered the hairs on your head
I formed you in your mother’s womb
Soo beautifully and wonderfully made
Ok, the last two songs I will do together because they are so similar. These songs “take us home” and close out the CD…such a bittersweet moment: Being With You and I Know Who I’m Living For. These songs are just hot. Another pair of “2012” songs that have refreshing leads by D4! I love the lyrics in both of these songs–good, strong lyrics.
Being with You is all I wanna do lately
You’re my best friend
Through the thick and thin
You never let me go, lover of my soul
When I’m around You, I feel like dancing
When I’m around You, I feel like waving my hands
You make me feel so good inside
I can’t deny that I’m sober, but I still feel high on You
I’m sure the tight wads don’t like the fact that they paralleled the what they feel to being high LOL. Forget about them, Jones fam! I Know Who I’m Living For is a very simple yet powerful song. For the most part all it says is I know who I’m living for! That’s all people really need to know in a day and age where people have no clue as to why they even exist. To know who you live for and why you live puts you ahead of the pack. The way they phrase “I know who I’m living for” makes it a very catchy tune.
- FIRST LOOK: foreverJONES (blackamericaweb.com)