Marcus Cole WRITE MY SONG CD Music Review -- April 8, 2008 8:56 pm.
Goal of Album: To encourage the listener; There is always hope through Christ.
Marcus Cole explains on his website: "What I want
people to know foremost through my music is that no matter how dark the
road in life may now be, it doesn't necessarily mean that's where
you'll end up."
The musical themes revolve around what
Marcus Cole has learned in his own faith walk, which he generously
shares with the listener. Cole reflects, "The music I sing is about my relation with God. The more I learn about God, the sweeter the music is for me."
WRITE MY SONG is a collection of songs that explore the following themes, which are tied to the main goals stated above:
All we need in life is a relationship with the Lord, which is a powerful source of blessings if we make it a priority.
(THAT'S ALRIGHT * BEING WITH YOU *BLESS MY SOUL)
The Lord as a dependable source of comfort, inspiration, strength
and love, in all aspects of our lives, even during our most painful
(YOU'RE THERE * REMEMBER TO BREATHE * WRITE MY SONG)`
We learn to wait patiently for the Lord, which develops our faith and brings us closer to Him. ( FINALLY * PERSUASION)
JESUS AS OUR LORD AND SAVIOR AND FRIEND FOR ALL TIME.
(I don't know * Give Him the Praise * The Lord has been Good * Celebrate)
Review of WRITE MY SONG CD
and overwhelmed with the busyness, pressures, adventures, challenges,
tragedies of life? Need a source of strength and encouragement? The
perfect musical / spiritual antidote to bring salve to your soul and
encouragement and comfort to your spirit, is Marcus Cole's Stellar
Award nominated CD, WRITE MY SONG, a musically interesting and
spiritually motivating collections of songs, which explore the
spiritual truth that there is always hope through Christ.
is nothing mundane or boring about this project, either musically or
spiritually! For this CD, WRITE MY SONG, offers music and content which
is appealing to a wide audience of listeners, paired with
themes which explore what a loving faithful Lord we have to depend on
during our challenging times. I'm happy to report that Marcus Cole and
his talented friends have put
together an inspiring collection of songs which offer rich, meaningful
lyrical messages paired with an interesting variety of musical
compositions, which truly do gladden the heart.
Cole, with the help of his friends & talented musicians, excel in
not only in presenting smooth, easy-beat to spirited R & B gospel,
with inspiring touches of jazz, swing, soul and funk, but also have no
problem offering the listener examples of other genres including
contemporary & rock (CELEBRATION), hip Hop dance ( I DON'T KNOW),
traditional style hymn (BLESS MY SOUL) and nicely done acoustic with
jazz overtones (YOU'RE THERE), uniquely brightened by elements of
gospel, expertly blended in, providing refreshingly creative,
full-bodied compositions, with a well-rounded sound in its wonderful
songs. Each of the songs' compositions uniquely provide the perfect
musical support for Cole's expressive vocals, fully supporting the mood
of the spiritual messages presented.
offer a dynamic, solid, blended musical support with many colorful
counter melodies and subtle ensemble work as well. Though the vocals
and lyrical messages are the stars of these songs, which is a
characteristic of Gospel music, I was impressed with the horn and sax
performances, who have no trouble with the difficult syncopation, or
swing rhythms found in some songs, adding a joyous, breezy spirit in
whatever cut they perform.
The lovely string arrangements
using real players add a dynamic poignancy to the melody, never
overtaking the vocals or other musical voices. Examples:(BLESS MY SOUL
* REMEMBER TO BREATHE). It is refreshing that real live string players
were used instead of a synthesizer.
The subtle to driving
rhythm and melody support by inspiring drum work, a variety of keyboard
instruments, and the talented guitar players add yet another layer to
the songs. The guitar musicians also shine in some of the songs with
subtle to solo riffs ranging from funk to swing to jazz and even rock!
drum and percussion work was equally impressive. Whether simple and
subtle (YOU'RE THERE) or driven and prominent (CELEBRATION), both the
drum programing and the live contributions add to the drive and zing of
the musical sound. The talent of all these musicians flows through this
collection of songs, giving their own testimony to their own faith
through their performances.
Besides offering a diverse
variety of well-written, well played musical compositions and inspiring
messages, the vocals are equally stunning and effective, as Marcus Cole
knows how to use his vocal gifts effectively, in a most musically
pleasing manner, expressing a range of feelings, such as: compassion,
joy, thanksgiving, and gratitude, giving the listener peace, hope and
joy which is in his own heart. Jumping up an octave to hit a high note
is made to sound so easy! (THAT'S ALRIGHT * PERSUASION). Besides having
fine diction, a richly layered voice, a great set of pipes, all which
is supported with great breath control, Marcus Cole offers just the
right style and dynamic presentation for each cut on this CD, offering
the perfect expression to the spirtually rich lyrical messages, such as
(WRITE MY SONG * PERSUASION * REMEMBER TO BREATHE * BEING WITH YOU),
which are my lyrical favorites. He can master any genre presented,
from gospel to jazz in a most enjoyable manner!
performances are professional and his musical ability to do so is
showcased front and center, as he shares through his music what he has
learned and experienced throughout his own walk with the Lord. For
Marcus Cole's vocals surely do share Marcus Cole's faith and personal
relationship with the Lord, which shines through, as he expresses from
his heart the spiritual messages written so well in all the songs.
not forget the guest
performers;(Kayla Parker in FINALLY, 2 Five in I DON"T KNOW), and the
back up singers and choral ensembles, who also offer dynamic, solid,
expressive vocals, always on
key, with excellent diction and with focus and concentration. They can
sing their choral refrain in HE'S SO GOOD, against a really strong
counter melody played by the horns and sax.
The mixing of all the tracks and the many fine vocals and back up vocals was well done by the talented
Hector Delgado, Anthony AJ Jeffries, and Peter Escovedo. There is a
fine balance of the musical voices which truly offers a great musical
support for the vocals and the spiritual messages.
review why this CD was nominated for a Stellar Award, and would be a
great addition to your Christian music collection! Because of the
professional, Holy Spirit inspired, well-done lead vocals and back up
vocals, well written, meaningful lyrical messages, equally inspiring
musically interesting compositions and a dynamite mixing effort, it is
no wonder that the resulting total musical package soothes the
nerves, while lifting the spirit, and centers the mind on the love and
faithfulness of the Lord, with whom having a relationship with should
most important priority in our lives. I highly recommend WRITE MY SONG
for anyone's Christian music collection, whether you are new to R &
B gospel with other genres blended in, or a seasoned Gospel music
lover! It surely will bless you on several levels, as these songs
blessed this reviewer.
For those who like more details, let's take a closer look at the songs.........
Spiritual Themes, Musical notes, Evaluations and Possible Scriptural References.
All we need in life is a relationship with the Lord.
* * * * + + THAT'S ALRIGHT - 2nd Favorite of this reviewer. Theme revolves around the spiritual truth that our most important priority is glorifying the Lord. Enjoy what we have
been blessed with, and not fret about secular rewards, or what we don't have in this secular world.
Musical Notes: A stellar example of up-beat rhythm & blues Gospel with delightful touches of jazz, funk and soul, held
together with an irresistible, tightly played, dotted note r and b
rhythm, anchored by well-done drum programming. Musical accompaniment
is a tight ensemble of talented musicians, who not only do a fine job
of adding spirit to the rhythm and counter melody support, but also add
short little funky jazz acoustic elements to the compositions a few
measures at a time.
Amazingly, Marcus Cole did all the well done vocals and support vocals, with a spirit of joy and faith, which is very encouraging to the listener.
Scriptural References: (Luke 10:27,Romans 8:31 & 12:2, Hebrews 6:19-20,)
Lyrical Sample:Chorus: That's alright cause I got You /That's alright cause I got You /That's alright cause I got You /That's
alright cause I got You // Verse 1: I say that's alright if I never see
my name is lights / If it hinder me from living right /I'd give it all
up tonight/ It's okay if my family never came around / And all my
friends let me down /I'm sure it would hurt / But things could be
worse.... BRIDGE: I've learned how to be satisfied With every blessing
in my life / Now I'm going to walk in prosperity / I'm covered with
favor and I'm filled with peace //
* * * * + BEING WITH YOU - Explores the satisfying blessings received from taking time to be with the Lord.
Notes: Expressive, laid-back, anthem-like rhythm and blues Gospel
prayer hymn. Simple yet effective musical accompaniment easily floats
along, with easy-going piano and guitar ensemble which supports the
main melody. Guitars shine a little in the fabulous bridge with a
bluesy-jazzy counter melody. Melody is carried by the strong lead
vocals during the verses.
Scriptural References:(Matt. 6:33, & 21:22, Romans 12:12, 1 Cor. 7:5, Phil 4:6-8, Col.4:2, Ephes. 4:23)
Lyrical Sample: Being with You / Being with You / Being with You / I love being with You / With You I can let my guard down / With You I can pour my heart out / With You, life is so secure now / I love being with You //
1: In the solitude of quietness / And in my pursuit to find myself /
I'm aware of just how blessed I am to commune with You / Now in my life
there is a lot of time spent / With cue cliches and speaking eloquent /
but in my heart is the true sentiment/ So let me be true //
BRIDGE:Sometimes I feel like I don't want to see your songs, no I
don't/Cause I am far from perfect and I don't want to lead anyone wrong
/ But You of all people know my heart, and You know where I stand / So
I'm going to stay right here until I become a better man.//
* * * * + + BLESS MY SOUL - Another strong favorite!
A beautiful, contemporary prayer hymn which expresses our need for the
Lord to bless our soul, help us to grow spiritually and become more
like Jesus. Perfect song to end this album, which would fit into any
Musical Notes: A contemporary / traditional
piano-based prayer hymn with a glorious, moving melody, great dynamics
and equally heart-felt vocals. Musical accompaniment is made up of a
solemn, expressive piano and a lovely string ensemble (Viola, Cello,
double bass). Composition and vocals build in dynamics and intensity
into the inspiring VAMP.
Marcus Cole does a masterful performance, truly putting his faith and conviction into his poignant vocals. The lyrics are his alone as well, as he shares an important part of his walk with the Lord.
His strong dynamics and volume demonstrate his stellar breath control.
volume and tone are accomplished without getting screechy! The lyrics
are his alone as well, as he shares an important part of his walk with
Scriptural References:(Matt. 6:33, Luke 12:34, Romans 12:2, Micah 6:8, 1 John 2:15-16)
Lyrical Sample: Verse 2:
I has learned to let all ambitions go / In exchange for things You hold
/ So now wash me now through and through / My heart will sing a song of
Chorus: Bless my soul, please bless my soul / Bless my soul, please bless my soul /I have come too far now to let go / I can be whole if You bless my soul.//
The Lord as a dependable source of comfort,
inspiration, strength and love, in all aspects of our lives, even
during our most painful losses.
* * * * + YOU'RE THERE - Contemporary, upbeat acoustic anthem which is a love
letter to the Lord, celebrating his faithfulness and love in this
Musical Notes: After beginning with
the sound of thunder and rain, the melodic yet simple acoustic guitar
accompaniment and sound block for rhythm make up the upbeat composition
which support Marcus' dynamic heart-felt vocals, ending with a melodic
VAMP which doesn't disappoint!
Scriptural References:(Psalm 139:8-10, John 10:2-4, 11, 17-18)
Sample: Verse 1: Be it tranquil waters or raging sea / Valley of shadow
or mountain breeze / In times of trouble or prayer of peace, I'm resting
// When I'm alone or in a crowed room / In a wealthy place not
destitute / Season for sowing or bearing fruit / You've never left me//
CHORUS: You're there, whenever I turn around / You're there, whenever I
call out / You're there, and I don't understand / Your love navigates
me and leads me to safety.//
* * * * + + REMEMBER TO BREATHE - Favorite song of this reviewer.
This moving, contemporary ballad is sung to someone who has suffered a
terrible loss, overcome with such overwhelming emotional pain that it
is hard to breathe. Theme revolves around depending on the Lord to see
us through anything, to value every moment we have to live as it is a
gift, and to remember to breathe, carry on and have hope in our Lord to
make a path out of this dark time.
Musical Notes: This haunting,
memorable, comforting melody is carried so movingly by a wonderful,
delicate, dynamic ensemble of piano, acoustic guitar and a real live
string quartet. Though written in a minor key,
there are interesting modulations and accidentals, which adds color and
beauty to this glorious melody, especially in the
bridge, which is my favorite part. This composition is so wonderfully
paired with meaningful, heart-felt lyrics and poignant, compassionate
vocals, stirring the heart and emotions, especially if the listener has
experienced that kind of pain which is hard to bear, threatening to
choke the breath out of one's being.
Cole's vocals really bring this song to life in such a beautiful way,
sure to comfort the listener who has experienced a terrible loss, or
will in the future, as loss in some form is inevitable in life.
Scriptural References:( Matt. 11:28-30, Isaiah 41:10, Ephesians 3:16-19, Romans 8:28 & 9:37-39, 2nd Cor. 5:17-18)
Lyrical Sample:CHORUS: Just remember to breathe, remember to breathe
/ You have what you need inside / And you are still alive /So remember
to breathe // VERSE 2: when the truth you believe leaves you wounded
and shaken / and it causes you to retreat / When the wind you depended
on is suddenly taken / And the blow that was thrown hurts so deep //
CHORUS// BRIDGE: For every moment is a gift / And every day that you
are here / don't forget to breathe, deeply / With every breathe you
take, don't forget that it is never too late / for God will make a way
/ And with one simple kiss, your spirit will live again //
* * * * + + WRITE MY SONG - Another strong favorite! This
contemporary worship and prayer hymn of petition asks the Lord to
guide the believers life and use him through his music to bring praise
and glory to the Lord.
Musical Notes: Contemporary Gospel
which would find a home in any contemporary service. Features a strong,
memorable melody paired with meaningful lyrics, brought to life with
heart-felt lead vocals and lovely harmonies of Marcus Cole and a well done musical accompaniment, pairing the guitar of Errol Cooney with the contributions of Luther
"Mano" Hanes on Keyboards, Key Bass and drum programming, creating a
very special, moving song, worthy of being the title cut!
Scriptural References:(Phil. 1:6 & 2:15, 4:13, John 15:16, Ephes. 4:23)
Sample:CHORUS:You're my Savior, You're the lover of my soul / Write my
song, please Lord / Write my song / My creator You are the One who
makes me whole /Write my song,(would you do it for me now?/ Maestro,
write my song //
VERSE 2: My life is laid out in black and white
just like the piano keys / I want You to play me, so You get the glory
/What ever You do is pleasing to me / ......
BRIDGE: Now it could be
a ballad full of encouragement / Or it could be a song of praise /
telling the world how You made a way /Or it could be a simple hymn /
telling the sinner man come and repent /Better yet, make it worship /
cause I know my purpose, my purpose/ Let the sound you hear / Be
pleasing to Your ears.//
We learn to wait patiently for the Lord, which develops our faith and brings us closer to Him.
* * * * + FINALLY - Trials, adventures, spiritual struggles and
bumps in the road are journeys of faith development which sooner or
later end, by depending on the Lord and his timing, which is not always
easy. A Song of thanksgiving for seeing the light of day as the Lord
works in our lives as we trust Him.
Scriptural References:(Romans 8:28, 2nd Cor. 4:6, Psalm 46:10)
Musical Notes: This dynamic contemporary, piano
based Gospel ballad anthem has an infectious peppy melody,supported by
upbeat airy, peppy guitar work ( Errol Cooney), catchy drums (LaDell
Abrams) and percussion (Peter Escoyedo) which work beautifully with the
piano, electric piano and bass key voices (Luther
"Mano" Hanes). This tight ensemble of sound offers the perfect support
for the usual stellar vocals provided by the talented Marcus Cole and
guest performer: an up and coming Gospel singer, Kayla Parker,
who adds spice and sparkle as a back up and the choral voice, as well
as singing the third verse herself, with Marcus backing her up!
Lyrical Sample:VERSE 2: It's like pacing the
floor all night / to get that little baby to close her eyes / then it
happens / Finally!/ Its like after a real bad storm / And then you
emerge with no hurt or harm, oooh, finally.
CHORUS: (Finally) lead:
I can see the light of day / (Finally) lead:After the night has rolled
away /My soul cries again ( finally) / (Finally) lead: Now that the
worst is at an end /(Finally) Lead: I can breathe again /My soul cries again (finally)/
Partial VAMP:...... (Finally)Leader: I've heard
for so many years / (My soul cries) Weeping may endureth for a night,
but joy comes in the morning / It's finally her! It's finally here!
(Finally) Thank you Jesus ! (Thank you Jesus) / Letting me see the
bright of day / My soul cries / Finally.
* * * * +
+ PERSUASION - Gospel ballad aimed at an impatient person, having a
hard time hanging onto their faith that the Lord will see them through
their difficult situation.
Musical Notes:A delightful urban
contemporary Gospel anthem with a laid-back easy r & b beat,
complete with poignant lead vocals and modern Gospel harmonies in the
chorus, all done by Marcus Cole himself on different tracks. The melody
is unusual, but refreshing, perfect for the mood of the song. The
highlights for me are the vocals and the meaningful spiritual messages
found within this song. The interesting, yet simple musical
accompaniment is provided by Keyboard and drum programming, guitar and
bass, with their wonderfully precise rhythmic, chordal and melodic support.
Scriptural References: (Hebrews 11:6, Psalm 37:5, Isaiah 28:16B, 1 Chronicles 16:11, Ephes. 2:8)
Sample: VERSE2: I was young but I'm a little older now / Never seen
God's children go without / Great is his faithfulness / Now I've Heard
/ that it is impossible to please God / Unless you believe God and if
you need God / Until you see your change/ keep seeking God's face //
I am persuaded / Can't turn around / Too close to my promise yeah, to
give up now / I am encouraged / down to my soul/ My faith is elevated
and I can't let go. // BRIDGE: Now see I've learned / That its not by
the works of my hand / Not the things I say / But God responds to my
JESUS AS OUR LORD AND SAVIOR AND FRIEND FOR ALL TIME.
* * * I DON'T KNOW (GIVE HIM THE PRAISE) - Hip hop dance tune
listeners to show their joy and gratitude to the Lord through a public
declaration through action; in a dance, despite their
shyness or not feeling like it. Praise Jesus because He is our Lord and
Savior. It could also be about a believer who is on the fence,
reluctant to openly commit to praising Jesus in front of others. Being
a Christian requires action, as Christianity is an active faith.
Musical Notes: Peppy hip hop dance
tune, complete with a rap by 2 Five. which is easily understood even
by the listener who is not rap savey! Great dance music combined with a
spiritual message makes an infectious combination! Marcus Cole of
course has no trouble singing in the hip hop style, and carries the
Scriptural References: (Romans 10:8-10, 1 Cor. 14:16, Heb. 13:15, James 5:15, Ps. 96:2)
Sample: VERSE 1: Now I've been watching you since you stepped into the
room / And it looks like you know what you wanna do / But something is
holding you / Now, is that right?/ At a second glance I could see that
you had a second chance /So I prayed What can I say to make you not
feel this way.// CHORUS: So if I told you, you don't have to be afraid
/ Just go ahead and give Him praise / You know you want to do it anyway
/ What if I told you who the Son has set free / Totally free indeed / And
you don't want to dance / Well don't stand next to me / Cause I don't
know what you came here for / You are not bound no more, so get on the
floor / And I don't know how you can call his name and leave here the
same / So give Him the praise.//
* * * * + + THE LORD HAS BEEN GOOD - Strong favorite of this reviewer. Celebrating in thanksgiving and
gratitude the Lord Jesus: His mercy and love, and as our Lord and
Musical Notes: A joyous, modern gospel
praise anthem, with plenty of zip and zing, blended with influences of
syncopated swing, vigorous dotted note rhythms, key modulations, modern
harmonies found in contemporary gospel, all propelled by a hot horn
section, wurlitzer piano Moog, clav & organ and a pumping, subtle
guitar ensemble. Horns shine throughout, especially in the VAMP,
offering a stirring counter melody supporting the vocals.
Joyous, enthusiastic lead vocals and choral ensemble are a spiritual pick me up, a boost to any listener!
Scriptural References:(Joshua 1:9, Heb. 13:5-6, 1 John 4:19, Romans 5:8)
Sample: When I look back, over my life and see the things I've been
through / The only thing my heart can say / Lord, You have brought me /
I don't know why You love me so / And I guee I'll never know / But in
spite of me, You keep blessing me // Chorusl The Lord has been good,
He's been good, He's been good, He's been good, He's been so good/ JESUS! No body but Jesus! (repeat)
* * * * + + CELEBRATE - Another strong favorite of this reviewer! A
stirring, energized praise and worship song which is perfect for any
contemporary service, as it is an Easter celebration song for all
Easter people of faith throughout the year. Spells out the hope we
have, the hope we can depend on to be there despite our circumstances.
Musical Notes: A full of life, rock and gospel
group praise anthem, propelled along with an infectious beat and
made up of a hot horn section and equally impressive guitar ensemble
which both provide the joyous energy, infectious zip and zing which
lifts the spirit so well in this song! Drums work is stellar! Lyrics
are simple, yet effective, making them perfect for any contemporary
Also love the dynamic, enthusiastic lead vocals and the choral ensemble which bring the lyrical message roaringly to life
It is the kind of song which is impossible not to sing along with! The
young and the young at heart would love this song for all of its joy,
enthusiasm and invigorating spirit. Definitely a song to listen to when
the listener needs encouragement and a lift, as well as a dance around
Scriptural References: (John 3:16-18, Phil. 2:8-11, Heb. 9:24-28, Psalm 89:15-18, Rev. 1:8 & )
Lyrical Sample: We have come to give Him glory
/ give Him honor . We are here to give Him praise, give Him praise / We
have come to give Him glory, give Him honor / We
are here to give Him praise, give Him praise / Now is your chance /
raise your hands and lift your voices / Let us this day / give Him
praise, given Him praise //
CHORUS: Celebrate new life / He has
risen, He has risen up / Celebrate new life, Jesus is alive (repeat)
Celebrate new life / He's alive, He's alive, He's alive.// BRIDGE: Way
above the clouds / You sit upon your thrown / but your love still rains
down / LEAD: Every nation and tongue will sing/ You're the King of kings, yes You're the Lord of lords / You are the Prince of peace and we praise You.//
Reviewed by: Julie Carr for ChristianMusic.com
Marcus Cole ( BLESS MY SOUL)
Luther "Mano" Hanes (THE LORD HAS BEEN GOOD * CELEBRATE
Marcus Cole and Luther "Mano" Hanes (THAT'S ALRIGHT * BEING WITH YOU * REMEMBER TO BREATHE)
Marcus Cole and Rick Watford (YOU'RE THERE
Marcus Cole * Luther "Mano" Hanes * * Errol Cooney (PERSUADED * WRITE MY SONG * FINALLY
Marcus Cole * Luther "Mano" Hanes * And 2 Five ( I DON'T KNOW (GIVE HIM THE PRAISE)
Musicians, Singers and Production Staff Involved in this project: WRITE MY SONG...include:
Executive Producers - Luther 'Mano' Hanes & Edwin J. Oliver * Co-Produced by Marcus Cole
Mixed by Hector Delgado * Anthony AJ Jeffries * Peter Escovedo
Vocals - Marcus Cole * Other duet Vocals with Marcus Cole: Kayla Parker (FINALLY)
Backup vocal ensembles - Theresa Jones, Linda McCrary, Markita Night, Shandra Dixon & Tony Jones,
Other background Vocals: Tiarra Lennacks, Ta Ta Vega, Lauren Evans, Jessica Lewis, Nina Lockhart & James McCrary
Featured 2 Five (I DON'T KNOW(GIVE HIM THE PRAISE)
Piano, Keyboards, Key bass, and drum programming - Luther 'Mano' Hanes
Moog, Clav and Organ - Bobby Sparks
Bass Guitar - Maurice Fitzgerald * Acoustic Guitar - Errol Cooney & Rick Watford * Distortion Guitar - Darryl Dixon
Strings by - The Love Sponge Strings
Trumpet: Ryan Sharp * Sax: Roman Dudock * Trombone: Carl Murr * Drums: LaDell Abrams & Felix "DKat" Pollard
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