Saturday, December 19, 2015

CD (Fan) Review – Jesus and Me – The Collection, by Glen Campbell

I don’t particularly care for Christian pop music, so I find myself surprised by myself for highly enjoying this inspiring and uplifting collection of mainstream pop legend Glen Campbell’s best contemporary faith-based songs from the 1980s and 1990s.

It’s the best of the genre I’ve ever heard.

There are probably two reasons for this: One, Glen Campbell is an acclaimed and accomplished secular singer-songwriter who happens to be a Christian, rather than being specifically a “Christian artist.” And two – it’s Glen Campbell, after all.

The very melodic and tuneful songs have a glossy sheen to them, and Campbell’s alternately humble and soaring voice exudes earnest sincerity and spiritual longing.

The three standout tracks on the album for me are the poignant take on the classic religious anthem “Amazing Grace” (the absolute best version I’ve heard, especially with Campbell’s bagpipe refrains), the power pop ballad “The Greatest Gift of All,” and the haunting elegy “I Will Arise” (with background vocal ambiance provided by The Boys Choir of Harlem). These are three of the most affecting songs I have ever heard in any genre.

Although this is not a Christmas-themed record (Campbell has at least one proper Christmas album and probably several more), it sounds right at home with the season, especially the three aforementioned tunes.

No matter what your faith is, or even if you don’t subscribe to one, I can’t imagine anyone not being moved by the sentiments on this very personal, soul-searching, and ultimately life-affirming musical journey.

--Raj Manoharan

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