Hawk Nelson “brings ‘em out” again with their fifth album release, “Crazy Love.” The Canadian punk/pop band’s latest offering is more of a throwback to their first album, “Letters to the President.” The song is based off of Francis Chan’s book which carries the same title, “Crazy Love.” Jon Steingard, guitarist for the group, claims that “Crazy Love” is “the most high-energy Hawk Nelson record ever.” While being a little more high in energy than previous projects, they lose a little of their punk rock feel in the process. Lead singer Jason Dunn says, although the project is true to their original punk vibe, it is also an album somebody’s mom could listen to. This is seen and heard throughout the project, as they lose a lot of the “broken-hearted guy over a girl” lyrics and move into the most lyrically in depth, and faith apparent, Hawk Nelson project to date.
“Tally-Ho,” true to Hawk Nelson style, is a fun and energetic short that jumpstarts the record. The fun drops off to meet the inspirational and passionate song, “Your Love is a Mystery.” The song deals with the love of Jesus despite all of the mistakes we make. “I'm never always right/And it's plain to see/You love me Jesus/It's a mystery.” The inspiration continues with the title track, “Crazy Love” and “My Next Breath.” Both songs continue to sing the amazing message of Jesus’ love despite our failures. “I know that I am loved/Cuz You bought me with Your blood/I need You/I need You more than my next breath.” (My Next Breath)
“We’re Alright,” “Joanna,” and “Fraud,” although all catchy, inserts some interesting points into the project. “We’re Alright” seems to present the problem society has with fantasizing over teen stars, or stars in general. (We think the teens in magazines they have all the answers/As we build this machine to watch it fall.) However, the song does not tell what the answer might be. All the song says is that (We can make it tonight everything is alright.) “Joanna” deals with much of what Hawk Nelson sung during their early days, difficulty with girls, and not very groundbreaking. Though catchy, “Fraud” is a classic Hawk Nelson tune, yet a bit obscure lyrically.
The band does a wonderful job of mixing the fun and inspirational….except at two points “LAX” and “Skeleton.” Though “LAX” is fun, the entire metallic feel throws the album for a loop that demolishes a lot of the project. “Skeleton” has a wonderful message but loses the intended purpose towards the end of the song as it becomes muddy and grungy with the guitars and vocals.
“We Can Change the World” takes on what “One Little Miracle” did. Though the first is more lyrically deep than the latter, “We Can Change the World” is a little lacking melodically and musically. “One Shot” reminds us, in the fun way only Hawk Nelson can do, that we only have one life to live. (You've got one shot/All you got/Live out loud/Come on wake up, wake up, wake up before it's over.) “Done Holding On” takes on the beautiful aspect of surrender. Lyrically and musically, this song stands out. (I'm giving up my secrets/I'm giving up my faults/Telling you I'm empty/Should have known all along/It's taken me my whole life to realize I'm wrong)
The album ends with a big thank you with the song, “Thanks for the Beautiful Memories.” Considering that this is their last project under Tooth and Nail, the song is a perfect ending for “Crazy Love,” because it follows their journey in music. The song could be interpreted one of two ways, a thanks to God for all the stuff He’s brought them through, or a huge thanks to the fans for sticking it out with them over the years. (We just wanna thank you for all that we've been through together/Dreams become reality/And we just wanna thank you one more time.)
Being the last installment with their current label Tooth and Nail, Hawk Nelson says that they put their best effort into this. This is clearly seen lyrically, yet it is not as musically moving as “Live Life Loud” was. As a new label and album approaches in the future, may Hawk Nelson continue to tell “tell the boys and the girls” about this Crazy Love.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Label: Tooth N Nail
Release Date: February 8, 2011
Buy it: Amazon mp3
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In the gray dawn of another day, I am spent. I can pray no more. There are no more words I can say, no entreaty with which to reach my Master. As the night shadows fade before the rising sun, I open my Bible. In the space between darkness and light, I need to hear His voice.