Iâ€™ve just posted a review of the the Critics‘ debut CD on the â€œCD Babyâ€ website (click here). â€œSoul Still Remembersâ€ really is my new favorite album, and the Critics are my new favorite band.
Musically, â€œSoul Still Remembersâ€ deserves a place among the all-time greats. I am a fan of bands like Counting Crows, Vertical Horizon, and Train, and this album surpasses them all. A written review cannot do justice to the Critics by way of description. You simply have to buy this album and listen to it for yourself.
To enjoy the album as it was intended, you really have to buy the CD. The songs are not arranged willy-nilly, but actually appear in an intentional sequence. The CD jacket is printed like a book, complete with chapter divisions and endnotes. Each song comprises a chapter (or â€œcantoâ€) in what is supposed to look like a book of poetry. And the lyrics are indeed poetry.
The lyrics portray the ruminations of an individual who is grappling with the issue of repentance, and each chapter opens up new vistas into the human condition before God. All of this is mixed with a profound understanding of the Word of God and how it describes our plight and salvation. Every time I reread these lyrics, there is a new insight that I hadnâ€™t seen before.
One of my favorite songs of the album is â€œTo Jeremiah,â€ a poem about the prophet and the Biblical book bearing his name. This song illustrates what is true of the rest of the pieces on the album; the lyrics can stand alone by themselves as poetry. Hereâ€™s â€œTo Jeremiahâ€:
Sing to me, Jeremiah,
of pickled skin and cracked bones,
of wrists rusted by chains
and feet cut by the stony road
where lion and bear wait
to kill your view of faulty Zion,
stripped down from her hill.
Tell me, Jeremiah,
about this town with no King,
where you, pressed face-long to the ground,
taste your teeth broken down
for the least of these.
Women eat salty skin
boiled and baked within them,
in their own hands,
and the prophets lie
and see clever fantasies
to calm the captives.
Let me, Jeremiah,
bear the yoke while Iâ€™m young
that I might sit down and shut up
disgraced in my own ashesâ€”
a â€œharlot-townâ€™s sonâ€â€”
so I can better know your hope
because, sir, Iâ€™ve seen your King.
Oh, Jeremiah sing,
for your King, at last, has come.
A new kingdom has come.
Do not delay. Make haste and add this album to your collection.
(When you visit the CD Baby website, listen to the following songs: “A Floor Below,” “Worse Than I Thought,” and “Soul Still Remembers.”)