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Neverland

Artist: Andy Mineo

Released: Jan 2014

Rating: 4.5/5

Well what can I say about Mr Mineo. This album – if I had to describe it in two words – would be: epic, amazing. This really should be the end of this review, but I guess for the sake of traditional reviews, I will proceed.

I was instantly blown away by the epic, superhero movie-soundtrack style instrumental which you hear in the first title track of the Neverland album. Andy talks about his experiences in struggling with achieving goals through his own will, and how he has found that when he clings to God and follows God’s will, he finds he can achieve and excel. Now that is a brilliant message.

His music style is apparent in the way he dresses – from New Era caps, to throwback basketball jerseys, baggy jeans and a very strong New York accent – this is not your average gospel/Christian artist. As mentioned in previous reviews there has been a shift from the type of religious Christian/gospel style music young people are listening to today, with drums, bass lines, hi-hats and snares which can be found in non-Christian popular music (especially rap). This type of gospel music is geared for a younger audience who would find it less inspiring to listen to traditional gospel.

The second song of the album is ‘Paisano’s Wylin’’ a sarcastic song which points out the ignorance in today’s secular music. In particular Andy says he is going to begin wearing Buddha chains because “Everybody rocking Jesus pieces, I’m just doing what ya’ll doing, wearing stuff I don’t believe in”. Paradoxically, Andy manages to poke fun at secular rappers/singers in a light hearted yet controversial way. The sounds in this song are similar to the types of sounds you would get on a Jay-Z album, which of course is a secular album – fast erratic hi-hats, overpowering bass lines, slowed down tempos – but due to the Christian message and the light-hearted/playful nature of the song, it makes for an interesting listen, something you will definitely play again and again.

Andy plays with different styles of tempos and drums throughout the whole album. It is very unpredictable in the way it introduces and takes out sounds as it progresses; you can tell he was attempting to take a more experimental approach to making music. Usually in my experience of artists trying this style of music it doesn’t turn out well, but in this case it came together very well indeed.

‘Death of Me’ is the last track on the album, and it does well in terms of concluding his message but also leaving you wanting more music from Andy. The ensemble of strings are very moving and reflective, their echoing nature moves the soul and absolutely changes the mood of the album to a more serious event. The instrumental even includes a quiet stark choir that runs throughout the verses of the track, which adds to the serious and contemplative feeling of the song. The song talks about how the type of music industry he is in makes it difficult to keep his faith; he is very honest when he says that the life he leads could be the death of him. It reminds us that there is a time and place for everything, traditional gospel music is excellent and profoundly needed at times, whilst in other situations, listening to more laid back, less serious gospel songs is beneficial too.

The reason I gave this album a 4.5 is because it takes the listener through various different emotions, from a light-hearted feeling, to a self-reflective feeling, to a very serious feeling, which creates a great balance and a great overall album. If you are looking for an album you can play causally, something that will take you through the week without having to compromise to the world and listen to secular music, then this album is exactly what you need in your life.

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