Monday, July 8, 2013

Music Review: Candle in the Rain by David Meece

Stars: 3 out of 5
Pros: I really love three of the songs.
Cons: Very dated production and mostly weak lyrics
The Bottom Line
Dated production
Some of his weakest lyrics
Only for diehards

Weak Lyrics and Overly 80's Production - Must be David Meece's Candle in the Rain

When I discovered David Meece's music in the early 90's, I fell in love with his then current release, and it is still one of my all time favorite discs.  So, naturally, I went back and started getting his older releases.  Imagine my surprise when I discovered that Candle In The Rain, the one that proceeded my favorite, was also one of David's weakest.

The disc was released in 1987, but if you've listened to it, you don't need me to tell you that at all.  The music just screams it with the very heavy reliance on synthesizer and drum machine.  Granted, David's never completely lost that 80's feel, but this seems worse than most.  Only one song really features David's piano playing, a signature most of the time.  Even the background vocals, more emphasized here than on other recordings, scream 80's.  Okay, not literally, but you get the idea.  I can't quite place my finger on what about them says 80's so much, but they definitely contribute to the feel of the disc.

Many of the songs here were produced by brothers Gino and Joe Vannelli.  Not only that, but they wrote the first four songs.  Of those, the only one I like is "All is God's Creation," which starts out the disc.  This song contrasts the good and the bad in the world.  At times it can be overly poetic, like the opening line "I see ten thousand wars fought on a distant shore in a baby's toy."  Overall, the song works, and it's a fun reminder of God's power and sovereignty.

But from there the next three songs go downhill.  I completely disagree with the message that if you truly love someone there is "Nothing to Forgive."  Yes, even people we truly love can hurt us enough that we need to forgive them.  "God Only Knows" is so poetic that I'm still not completely sure I even know what it is trying to say.  And "The Water is Fine" is a psychedelic look at John the Baptist that is just bizarre.  Don't get me wrong, these songs are all fun, and I do find myself singing along with them, but they just aren't good if you stop and think about them.

Fortunately, David had a hand in writing the 5 remaining songs, and they are better.  "His Love was Reaching" is the definite highlight of the disc.  It's the only song to feature David's incredible piano playing, and even has some strings.  The ballad about how God's love was weaving through his life is still powerful.

But things pick back up for "Amor Conquesta Todo (Love Conquers All)" a fun number again about the power of God's love.

The remainder of the disc includes some fun songs.  There's "Higher Ground," a prayer for God's help is trials.  That's mirrored in the song of encouragement, "Hold On."  Finally, there's the 80's power ballad "Candle in the Rain," which calls for us to be an encouragement to those who are struggling around us.

And my inner high schooler still likes these three songs.  They have a certain nostalgic pull that makes me forget the lyrics are actually kind of shallow on them.  David has done better in the lyric department on his other releases, and when the adult me really listens to them, I cringe at some of the cliches.

So I don't tend to pull Candle In The Rain out very often when I need a David Meece fix.  The few really good songs are enough to bring it out once in a while, but I find his other releases are much better.

CD Length: 38:38
1. All is God's Creation
2. Nothing to Forgive
3. God Only Knows
4. The Water is Fine
5. His Love Was Reaching
6. Amor Conquesta Todo (Love Conquers All)
7. Higher Ground
8. Candle in the Rain
9. Hold On

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