Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Save the World
Genres: Pop, Christian
Listen to Samples
ben murphy | USA | 07/07/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Eric can sing any style of music he wants and make it my faverite! smilin and calling you are the highlights but all the songs are good, what song of his isnt? none! if you are just getting into dance or christian music start with him."
Artifact more than art, but a guilty pleasure
Greg Brady | Capital City | 06/21/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"At the time this was still new, Champion was one of a tiny handful of folks attempting to bring dance pop to people who loved the sound of Madonna and the like but didn't really want the associated baggage of illicit sex that came with it. There was a LOT of resistance to that in the church from corners who insisted that the act of dancing was in and of itself a door to licensing premarital sex from the "sensual" activity. (Never mind Biblical instances of dancing...)
Champion was like Madonna in that he self-produced and exercised a lot of control over his music. Where he was UNlike her is that he didn't necessarily have the sense of where music was stylistically (he knew that rap was big, but his attempts at incorporating that into his own music were fairly stiff) and the budget to make his music as insistently danceable as, say, the progeny of Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis (Janet Jackson).
It was also one of his biggest "radio" albums, charting "Save the World" at #3, "Smilin'" at #16, "New Crusade" at #7, and the biggest hit "The Answer" which soared to #1 for 3 weeks.
"New Crusade" is an argument to fight for God's principles in a world that opposes them. The rap section is probably the best one Champion does on the CD. "Smilin'" is a departure from his usual more dance sound, pretty much a sop to Christian radio. (You can't sell very well without airplay.) It's a VERY lightweight paean to making God smile by our actions, but the hook sticks to you like cotton candy and the flute was an unusual instrument for pop music. (Can you think of any others? I can only remember the one from Men at Work's "Down Under" besides this...) It also boasts some fairly jazzy guitar fills that meander in and out of the track, giving this some pretty interesting things happening for a pop ditty. "Why Do we Do?" calls for an end to Christian infighting over a propulsive beat. ("On and on we go/Reading lines written for the fool/Saying things we don't really feel and makin' secrets of things we do") The "fighting" dialogue is an annoying distraction, but otherwise it's pretty solid. "Send Them Your Love" sounds like a gospel song as done by DeBarge...soul "lite".
"The Answer" rides a fairly funky drum program but the chorus sounds like it's from a kiddy show. (Marabeth Jordan from First Call guests...and I'll bet she's trying to forget that..) Champion spits out some of his worst rap lyrics here,too ("There was this voice in the air, my newly freaked-out hair.." "Motivated and elated dancers..") "Calling You" has a great melody and a round in the chorus between the "Word of Faith Choir" and Champion, but it's poorly produced. You can't really understand what Eric is singing in response to the choir and that keeps the tune from being what it could be. It was a CCM radio hit anyhow, of course."Rainbow Jam" is really, really BAD music about fighting racism. ("Red red yellow yellow black black white white/Hey, now everybody's outta sight") UGH. "Tuffin' Up" actually uses made-up words like "nucleate" and "groovicate"...just lazy lyric-writing. It's unfortunate that he didn't make more of an attempt because this track is as close as Champion gets to something that would actually be played in a club. Backing vocalist Bonita Artaberry does her best to cop a Martha Wash shout.
This has value more as nostalgia and for seeing the earliest beginnings of Christian dance pop than as great art. I can't really argue that any of this remains essential in 2005. But Champion threw himself wholeheartedly into his sound and that enthusiasm gives it some resonance even in its cheesiness. So turn it up...the "fist of God" is in the bass. :)"