Sunday, April 8, 2018

CHOSEN-Abakhethwa (1996)


I could have chosen to indulge in one of the many albums that were either gifted to me by my fellow music lovers in my circles or that I gifted to myself recently; instead, I chose to explore the soul music catalog, and that's where I discovered this truly divine all-male South African gospel quartet that I'd never heard of before. Their heavenly, exotic voices captivated me the moment my ears received the opener, "Everything I Desire"—first the tenor and baritone of the group introducing the song, then the delightful falsetto of the group's lead singer—delivering the uplifting words of 'you are my friend, you are my joy, you are my comforter' against the beautiful reggae-style rhythm. It's a great one to hum along to because of the lush melodies, and one you've gotta listen to at least a couple of times, like I did! Following that soul-sweet number, the music follows the familiar Western-style r&b production with the inspirational, socially-themed feelgooder, "We Can Live Together", which you get treated to hearing an alternate version of later on. On that same r&b wavelength is "Easy Does It", a song whose message is about not rushing into things and finding your true purpose in life. But I kept getting captivated by the ones where the luscious instrumentals and/or the soulful harmony dazzled my senses. On "No More Pain" and "Keep Holding On", it was the latter; the songs really blossom into something marvelous as they near their respective final movements. On "Strength Of My Heart", it was the former, as the light calypso and ethnic/world fusion drum beat attached me to the music. Then on "Come As U Are", it was both; I was particularly sparked the arrangement of the chords, and it was nice of them to quote the famous Bible passage that begins with 'God so loved the world, he gave his only begotten son'. Though perhaps CHOSEN's greatest accomplishment of all on this album is the humbling song about self-sacrifice that is "The Greatest Love Of All". I already wanted to listen to it again in just the first minute or two; it's easily the most touching song I've heard within the past week! 6+ minutes of warmth, reflection and spiritual filling—I couldn't have chosen a better group of words to describe it:

1. Everything I Desire
2. We Can Live Together (Remix)
3. No More Pain
4. Strength Of My Heart
5. Come As U Are
6. When I Remember
7. Easy Does It (Remix)
8. The Greatest Love Of All
9. Keep Holding On
10. Sengiyohamba
11. Thank You Lord
12. We Can Live Together (Original Version)
13. Easy Does It (Original Version)

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