Tuesday, February 22, 2011


     Hawk Nelson has gained the reputation of being a party band over the years, as was seen by their performance in 'Yours, Mine and Ours' starring Dennis Quaid and Rene Russo.  Their pop, punk, and rock sounds will appeal to fans of Relient K, MxPx, and Simple Plan.
     On CRAZY LOVE (2011, BEC Recordings) their fifth studio album, the boys share more deeply about their faith lyrically, without sacrificing their fun sound.  On 'Your Love is a Mystery' they sing: "God I messed it up again/I seem to do this all the time/Can You forgive me once again, or have I finally crossed the line?"  And later: "You know my faults/You know my wrongs and You still love me."  'Skeleton' reminds us that our secret sins will find us out, and only the truth will set us free.  'Done Holding On' is a song of surrender to God: "I'm giving up my secrets/I'm giving up my faults/Telling You I'm empty/Should have known all along...The Son has come/I wanna be free."
     The title track 'Crazy Love' was inspired by Francis Chan's book of the same name.  The song begins: "We're the ones who believe in the things unseen" and continues: "They say it sounds insane/We say we've been changed/By the power of crazy love/This world looks at us like we're ridiculous/Baby, it's all because of crazy love."  'My Next Breath' is a pretty ballad of acknowledgment: "I know that I am loved/Cuz You bought me with Your blood/I need You/I need You more than my next breath."
     'Joanna' is a relationship song that asks some familiar questions: "Should I call or should I run?/Turn around or just move on?/Either choice I make I'm scared will still be wrong."  The album, produced by Ian Eskelin, ends with 'Thanks for the Beautiful Memories', a song of gratitude to God for all the success they've had as a band.  I'm giving CRAZY LOVE a 78%.

     The deluxe edition of CRAZY LOVE comes with THE LIGHT SIDES (ACOUSTIC), an eleven song sampling of the band's earlier works presented in a more mellow fashion.  'California' is a fun song, with Beach Boys style harmonies and this neat play on words: "We'll never get bored cuz we can go boarding."  '36 Days' is about being on tour away from close family and uses harmonica.
     'You Have What I Need' sounds like a stripped down Billy Talent.  It speaks to the fact that you have to give yourself away to truly live.  'Everything You've Ever Wanted" is a moving ballad about a kid realizing that his broken family is not his fault.  'First Time' comes across like a Great Big Sea tune.  'Head On Collision' features 'Na na na na' gang vocals.  'Take Me' is a beautiful ballad about a longing to be loved and cared for: "Please help me get from worse to better/Before these tears soak through this lonely sweater."  I'm giving THE LIGHT SIDES (ACOUSTIC), produced by Steve Wilson, a 73%.