“Unity” by Darrell Kelley
August 22, 2018
The modern gospel music is in a period of transition and may be having a crisis of identity. There are so many sub genres today of all forms of music. This can be a confusing for the average fan. It is pleasing to report that there will be no one who confuses Darrell Kelley with Dorothy Norwood. Kelley is all about the word and not the singing. He can be an effective, but shrill, when delivering his ideas on inspiration. Straining against the upper registers and pitch to try and corral a melody seems to be part of the fun here. Passion can often come through in an artist’s delivery. That can be effective and endearing. As it is in this case with “Unity”.
A theme that runs through this song are how one serves God in a better more effective way. A good thing for Christians to remember is God will sit in judgment of you, at some point in life. You will not have a lawyer representing you in His courtroom when your desk ticket gets called, it is you, and you alone who will be answering. The Pastor here reminds us all who believe, in that fact. It will be the most unifying part of the journey we call life. With a background in various roles in his community, from delivering food through his restaurant to writing books, Darrell works in the fields that brings comfort to humanity and provides a setting for people to get unified in.
There are very standard rap sounds that aid in the production here. The slow beats and the dramatic brush strokes of instrumentation allows this song to fit in well with the current crop of hip hop Christian R&B. The grinding syncopated bass provides the movement here on this song about unity, but it can’t overcome some of the strain of the vocals. There are several issues here that a non-musician like myself can’t put their finger specifically on. I don’t know whether it is the fault of the studio team or the artist. There should be someone somewhere involved with this production that could’ve come up with a more comfortable key for him to sing in. It is like the track was done before the singer ever did a note, then when he arrived to do his part there was no other way to get this into a key he could best work with. They could have addressed this in the preproduction work. That is the biggest failure about this record, and that is sad.
The message of unity is one that should be beamed over the radio waves a lot more often for people to hear. Unfortunately, for this particular song, they could end up reaching for something else: the volume knob. All in all, it’s a good effort that seems to falter in the execution. I think the radio public may be unified over that more than the actual product here. Overall a grade of B minus for “Unity”.
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