Anthony Brown & Group TherAPy
Columbia Records Group (release date: November 3, 2023)
By Robert M. Marovich
Church aphorisms, some from scripture, some from sermons, some from songs and hymns, essentially function as personal affirmations. They are the phrases that keep us going.
We know them well. Here are a few: “He pulled my feet out of the miry clay / He set my feet on the rock to stay.” “Jesus is a way maker.” “I’ve been washed in the blood.” “He kept me.” “Only what you do for Christ will last.”
On Affirmations, its sixth album and first in three years, the gospel group Anthony Brown and Group TherAPy embeds affirmations within some of its lyrics and sometimes within a song title itself.
Like “God’s Got Me,” a song with a sugary melody and enthusiastic singing. “Everything is happening the way it should,” affirms “Aligning,” a beautiful interlude. “It’s not over until it’s good.” The current radio single, a lovely worship ballad called “Speak Your Name,” is about invoking the power of Jesus, essentially what an affirmation does. The song has the potential to enter the repertories of worship groups and choirs.
“Together Again” is a reminder that death is not the end and that we will be reunited in heaven. On “Grace,” Kierra Sheard-Kelly sails in toward the end to loft Detroit-style siren-like wails. Creamy and complex harmonies accompany the group’s arrangement of the hymn “It Is Well With My Soul.” A fine ballad, “Even In This,” demonstrates the group’s ability to deliver a message of hope and encouragement with clarity and conviction.
There’s genuineness in the singing, majesty in the arrangements, and melodic variety in the selections. It is as bright, bristling, and optimistic in sound as its lyrics are intended to heal the hurt. A contender for best gospel album of the year.
Five of Five Stars
Picks: “Speak Your Name,” “It Is Well”