Danny Gokey – ‘Rise’ – Album Review

You probably know Danny Gokey from his time on American Idol.  He place third on Season 8 behind the winner, Kris Allen, and the runner-up, Adam Lambert.  To me Adam should have won, but that is the topic for another discussion.  I am going to talk about Danny Gokey and his new album, ‘Rise’.

Danny is on his 5th album (if you count the Christmas album and his Spanish version of his 2nd album).  He has seem to have found his niche in the Christian Pop genre and is getting better with each release.  You can see the maturity and the improvement in the songs on this release.  Ever since he started adding to the songwriting on his second album, the releases have been getting better and better.

He has definitely gained more confidence and ease with his singing as his voice hasn’t sounded better.  The smooth, soulful vocals along with the Pop vibe makes for an exceptional album that could easily be on the mainstream Pop radios.

For this release, he has taken songs with a positive, Christian message and turned them into sleek, danceable pop songs that at the same time have deep meaning and heart.  The first single, “Rise”, is a dance, pop song, but is absolutely beautiful and is such an uplifting song and instantly became a favorite of mine.  The video even shines a light on domestic violence and an organization that will help women going through such a tragic event.

The nice thing to know is as good as that song is, it is not the best song on the album.  One of my favorites is the opening track “Stronger Than We Think”.  The song is on their twice and the second version is an even more danceable remix.  The song has a heart pounding beat and makes you want get out of your chair and dance.  It was a great, high energy song to kick off the album (and end the album with the remix).

If you like that song, there are several more that are going to make you as excited.  Songs like “If You Ain’t In It”, “Never Be The Same”“The Comeback” and “Symptons” are all as infectious and way better than any other pop song on the radio today.

“Masterpiece” is a little slower song and one of the few he didn’t take part in writing.  The chorus comes in big like on “Rise” and draws you in and I love how he sings the chorus with the changing of the notes.  It is masterful.  And then the song “Slow Down” does just that.  He slows things down and turns a little more soulful in vocals and vibe.  It is another of my favorites.

Danny doesn’t tackle the whole album by himself.  One of the best songs is a duet with another former American Idol alum, Jordin Sparks.  The song “Chasing” is such a beautiful and heartfelt song.  Both Jordin and Danny sound amazing and the two together sound like they were meant to sing together.  The song pulled at my heart strings.

The other duet he does is with gospel singer, Kierra Sheard, and the song is “Better Than I Found It”.  The message is simple that he would love to leave the world better than when he found it.  He would radiate the positive to make that happen.  Kierra Sheard has such a beautiful voice that compliments Danny’s and makes for another spectacular song.

The only misstep for me was “What Love Can Do”. It is not a bad song, but for me was not memorable at all.  After listening to the album for 4 straight days (2-3 x’s a day), I could not remember how this song went and for that reason is the only song I would delete.  Outside of that, there is nothing wrong with this album.

Track Listing:

  1. “Stronger Than We Think” – Keeper
  2. “If You Ain’t In It” – Keeper
  3. “Rise” – Keeper
  4. “Masterpiece” – Keeper
  5. “The Comeback” – Keeper
  6. “Slow Down” – Keeper
  7. “Never Be the Same” – Keeper
  8. “What Love Can Do” – Delete
  9. “Chasing (Feat. Jordin Sparks)” – Keeper
  10. “Symptons” – Keeper
  11. “Better Than I Found It (Feat. Kierra Sheard) – Keeper
  12. “Stronger Than We Think (Bryan Todd Remix)” – Keeper

11 keepers out 12 songs – 92% (4.6 out 5 stars).  I had never listened to much from Danny Gokey prior to this album and I realize now what I have been missing and need to listen a little more closely on his earlier stuff.  He has a great voice and the songs were way better than I expected.  This is one of the strongest outings I have listened to from any former American Idol alum and now makes him one of my favorites to come from the show.  If you are a fan, this album is an absolute no brainer and a must have.  If you are not a fan, what are you waiting for?  Climb aboard the bandwagon and see what all the fuss is about.

13 thoughts on “Danny Gokey – ‘Rise’ – Album Review

  1. Thanks for the very sharing your very positive review. I think we have similiar musicial tastes on this album! I love the dance tunes (If You Ain’t In It, Stronger Than You Think, Never the Same, Symptoms, Comeback) but I appreciate the heartfelt songs like “Chasing” and “Masterpiece”. While I appreciate the vocals in “Slowdown” and “What Love Can Do”, they don’t pull me in. I’ll be sharing your review at Danny’s fansite, http://www.dannygokeynews.com. Thanks! Jan

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hmmmm… I wish I could edit that comment, but you get the gist of it… “Thanks for sharing your very positive review….” Now I see what it’s like to not have an edit button, LOL.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great review John. I liked Danny Gokey when he was on American Idol, and am happy he’s still recording and having success. The songs you included are really nice! And I agree Adam Lambert should have won that year, but in the end, it’s the artists’ true talent and drive that ultimately determines whether they make it or not. While some winners like Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Jordin Sparks and Philip Phillips went on to great success, others who won haven’t gone anywhere, whereas runners-up like Jennifer Hudson, Chris Daughtry and Adam Lambert have. Chris Allen who?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Good review. Why is mainstream radio not spinning this album? Adult contemporary format. Mercy Me, Switchfoot did it. Drop a copy off of Rise at the local YMCA and the like to a fitness class instructor for spinning or conditioning class. Good way to give Danny’s music exposure to new fans.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Guest appearances on tv talk shows, but getting on top 40 charts and radio outside of Christian format…who handles that? Is it label decision? Which artists get on the playlist of Top 40 stations and how? I say get Danny out there beyond the K Love audience…he’s got a winning product to share with Rise.

    Liked by 1 person

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