Hagioscope

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

get away

Why, Lord? Why must they be so hot?

My new Signature Sound video arrived yesterday, so I stayed up very late after class watching it through to the end — all 32 or so tracks. And let me tell you, if there’s anything that could make a heathen holler YES YES OH GOD YES, it’s Get Away Jordan.

I’m going to wear out the first two-thirds of this disc playing it over and over for the energy, the harmony, the suavity, and the hotness. The guys look and sound better than ever. The non-concert video clips are nice pacing elements. Ernie Haase is running a tight, slick, professional ship that delivers outstanding goods.

And then, when things start to get preachy, I’m going to shut it off.

And you’re thinking, “Kim, it’s a gospel music video. Things are bound to get a little churchy at some point. Duh.

Well. This video is not, for the product of a music ministry, terribly churchy. The songs are all about God, Jesus, and going home to meet them*, sure, but the testimonies are made palatable by the catchy beats and shiny suits. It’s when the American flag replaces the cross and the guys begin praising their country the same way they did Jesus that I hit “stop.” It’s very, very dangerous to put flag and country on the same pedestal as an infallible and ever-living God. They’re not the same thing. Worship should not be equated with citizenship. If the country becomes your god, its leaders must become your priests, and that I cannot abide.

Besides, I’m an American! Nobody tells me when to salute, dammit!

Don’t worry, though, the flag-waving doesn’t happen until near the end. There’s plenty to enjoy beforehand. For example, check out track 12, a toe-curling a cappella hymn by the vocally (and orthodontically) gifted Ball Brothers. SSQ’s new road buddies boast a genetically enhanced blend that will make you believe in the divine.

The Gaither Vocal Band also makes an unremarkable guest appearance, showcasing the relationship between the two quartets and cementing SSQ’s as Southern gospel music’s heirs apparent.

Analysis aside, just sit back and enjoy the beauty that is baritone Doug Anderson. While everyone else in the group has a clearly defined persona — the ringmaster, the upstart, the power hitter, the clown — Doug is best known for being . . . second from the right. He seems to be the good ol’ boy who holds things together.

He’s always cheering the others on, patting backs and high-fiving after an inspiring turn. In live concerts I’ve seen him guide lead singer Ryan Seaton into place and keep him in step with the choreography. Even Doug’s solos, while as sizzling as the rest, carry more gravity than grandeur. For a Siggie, he’s understated, and maybe that’s why I like him so much. Or maybe it’s because he’s just so dang cute.

Yeah. Crush much?

Anyway.

Some of the DVD bonus materials are worth watching and some are skippable. I haven’t seen all the extras yet, but I can tell you this much: Milli Vanilli these guys ain’t. There’s an acoustic number ("John in the Jordan") filmed on a beach that would be better if it weren’t so obviously lip-synched. It’s fun to see the guys dressed down in Hawaiian shirts and shorts, and they sound terrific unplugged, but there’s way too much footage of them all — including pianist Roy Webb, bless his fifth-wheel heart — swaying and clapping and looking giddy.

If you like cute kid videos, however, do check out the Fan Clips. Here, parents have sent in home movies of their kids dancing and grooving a la Signature Sound. It’s entertaining, and a good excuse to listen to “Stand By Me,” which didn’t make the main concert menu.

Overall, I give Get Away Jordan a solid B+. The music and showmanship, not to mention the production values, are top-notch, but the forced patriotism is hard to swallow.



* Christians are the original Goths, if you think about it. Their hero is a guy who was killed for doing magic and came back from the dead. Most of their songs either romanticize the sweet glory of suffering and dying or rant about the worse torment that awaits those who aren’t careful. Seriously. Add a little black eyeliner — okay, a lot of black eyeliner — and you’ve got . . . Godths.

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