Kierra Sheard ‘Graceland’ Album Review

Kierra Sheard Graceland Album Review

Kierra Sheard’s new project ‘Graceland’ was eagerly anticipated as she has clearly taken a different direction to her last album ‘Free,’ which was a live album featuring some great, energetic songs and saw Kierra take on the role of worship leader/psalmist for the majority of that album where ‘Graceland’ seems to be a more production heavy Urban-R&B-Hop (yes, I just made that up) offering.

‘Graceland’ gets started with ‘Intro:Spoken Word’ with Bishop J Drew Sheard speaking about his family declaring “I can see that there are some greater things ahead. Let’s make them happen” to which Kierra responds “Brothers, sisters, let’s go and change the world’ let’s make it a better place…” The Trap-laden production and melodic, vocal-driven composition hint that the listener is in for something different from Kierra but that it’s more than likely that they’ll love this “new sound.”

‘2nd Win’ switches up the feel with lighter, less aggressive production which allows Kierra’s natural, less “produced” vocal to shine as she sings about overcoming by the word of her testimony and introduces the listener to the concept of the ‘2nd Win’ which encourages the listener that “God is working it out… Don’t quit now here comes your second win…” The smooth, dancing bass line, piano trills and sampled vocals make this one hard to sit still too.

The Trap-tinged Dubstep offering ‘Moving Forward’ shares Kierra’s experience of God as she sings, “I never saw Him, yet I still love Him, still haven’t seen Him, yet I still trust him, with laughter and singing I still believe with every part of me I will believe…” ‘Moving Forward’ is a song of declaration and the gang-style vocals are sure to get fists pumped and encourage the listener to arise with boldness and leave the past behind and move forward.

‘Save Me’ is what one could call an “Urban Ballad”, evoking emotion, drawing the listener in, telling a story with a strong melody and a fusion of Classical and Electro musical styles but all together allowing the lyrics and meaning of the song to shine. This song expresses an internal conflict with the things of this world and the bad things we often desire and get caught up in and the desire to live right for God and crying for Him to “Save me from myself…”

Kierra opens up on ‘Flaws’ and allows the listener to share in her insecurities and things that she doesn’t like about herself. It’s hard to listen to this song without feeling that this is a song birthed out of Kierra’s own experiences and a song that is personal to her.

‘No Graceland’ is intriguing… Surely everyone wants to go to a land of grace. The title doesn’t reveal the whole message of the song and upon hearing the first verse the content of the song and the meaning of the title start to make sense… “Would you believe it, if I said at times I feel lost… Or if I told you, sometimes I feel I’ve wondered off, into a place where I’ve ran out of grace… So many wrongs, have come between us, I’ve gotta fix where I am, because I’m tuned into no graceland…” This song will resonate with most and has a simple hook that says “I’ve gotta have you forever… Ever in me…” which will get listener singing along and involved in the meaning of the song.

‘Graceland’ marks a new direction for Kierra Sheard‘Graceland’ see’s genres fused to produce a sound that has the potential to reach a wide demographic of people providing a sound that represents the diversity that is present in the 21st Century Kingdom of God. Strong messages, themes and experiences are expressed on ‘Graceland’ to musical production that will leave listeners contemplative, prayerful, declarative, uplifted and even wanting to do the dougie (whether you want to or not… I can testify). The production could have gone further for a fuller and more cohesive sound throughout the album, which is produced greatly but at times felt like the potential of the songs were
not maximised.

As a studio album, listeners could be forgiven for thinking ‘Graceland’ would take over from where Kierra’s last studio albums left off but this new album is new, fresh and is relevant. It’s hard to not be a little disappointed at the amount of effected vocals and production techniques used on one of music’s most distinct and loved voices, however Kierra’s vocals still shine and show that she is not just a “one trick pony” and that she has more to offer than just “Gospel” runs and riffs. With that said, I’m not sure if anything will top ‘I Owe You’ (in my opinion) but that could just be nostalgia speaking…

Track List:

  • Intro: Spoken Word
  • 2nd Win
  • Balm (Interlude)
  • Moving Forward
  • Save Me
  • Flaws         3:04
  • Kill The Dragon
  • Repin My God (Feat. Canton Jones)
  • You Don’t Like What You See (Interlude)
  • In You
  • No Graceland
  • Go

 Reviewed By Matt Brooks

4.5/5

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