Thursday, April 3, 2014

School of Roses by Christon Gray

     When done right, R&B can be one of the most beautiful genres out as it is the combination of more than Rhythm and Blues: it also contains elements of Gospel, Pop, Jazz, Hip-Hop and Soul. This unique and diverse sound can be found within Christon Gray's newest full length album, School of Roses. Gray has slowly been building up a large following as he's topped Itunes charts, and even performed at the SXSW Festival in March. School of Roses is spreading to ears across the nation and for good reason, this album is great listen and something for everyone.

     The backbone to an R&B album is not the melodic singing but the smooth and rich music that tells the unspoken story within the songs. The production on this album is pure. The music is great quality and if Gray didn't sing on a single track, this album would still be great.

     The music's tempo progression, or regression in this case is easily an overlooked aspect of the album. Starting out with fun, more upbeat and groovier sounds quickly turn into slower, more piano heavy smooth tracks. This is something that many people wouldn't think to be such a big element of an album, but simple song placement can change the entire listening experience.

     One artist I can remember doing this very thing, is Lionel Richie. He would start an album off with an upbeat track like "Dancing on the Ceiling" and close the album off with a beautiful love song like "Say You,Say Me" (just to prove a point, those two hits are the first, and the last track on Richie's Dancing On The Ceiling album).

     On to Gray's vocal ability, he has a plethora of talent and it's evident on this album. His voice is so soothing to the ears, and his lyrics are wonderful. Gray features some well written love tracks like "Vanish" featuring rapper Swoope, as well as great gospel tracks like "Roses 103-Ghost." He is truly a versatile artist and on some of the tracks his singing could be called rapping and it would be a fair assessment.

     Every great album, of any genre really, doesn't excel at a particular point. The lyrics are never extremely better than the music you hear them on, and the music is never overly strong with mediocre vocals over it. It takes a blend from a little of everything, and School of Roses does just that. Christon Gray will open listeners up to a variation of styles within the R&B genre. My gripes on this album are too minuscule to point out and so I'll leave you with this tidbit of thought: School of Roses will be one of your favorite albums of 2014, plain and simple.

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