Colton Dixon is one of the rising stars in the Christian genre. As everyone always has to mention, he is a former American Idol contestant who finished in 7th place on Season 11. Now on his third album, the maturity and vocal talent are hitting their peak. Colton has been growing with each release and ‘Identity’ shows definitely shows that growth.
‘Identity’ is a very ambitious album for this young singer. The Deluxe Edition is a startling 17 tracks and is a loosely based concept album. I say loosely as the album doesn’t tell a story from beginning to end, but appears to be broken into three parts with the songs representing that theme. The three themes are “The Mind”, “The Body” and “The Spirit”.
The first part of the album is “The Mind”. The album starts off with the Interlude called “The Mind” which is an instrumental piece with angel like voiceovers by a female and male voiceover giving you the theme of the section. It is actually quite great. The song transitions seamlessly into the title track “Identity”. The four songs in this section are all pop songs that in one shape or another are representative of the mind.
“Identity” along with the first single “All That Matters”, “Brand New Life” are beautifully crafted pop songs and each one has its own style and flair. My favorite song in this group is “Technicolor”. The song is quite different from the other 3 songs and Colton sounds sensational. The message of being able to see the beauty of God with your Mind’s Eye and not seeing with your actual eyes is clever and fits nicely in the theme.
The second part is “The Body” which is another instrumental interlude with the man and woman doing angel like voiceovers. The section is heavier in sound and a little more aggressive in style with five songs making up the set. I would say this is the rock section of the album. “The Body” interlude, like “The Mind”, bleeds seamlessly into the first track in the section which is the best song on the album “In My Veins”.
“In My Veins” is a song that takes you on a journey musical. Through its hard pounding rock stylings to some slower piano pieces with strings and an orchestra feel and back to the heavy beats and his soaring vocals you immediately fall in love with this song.
The other songs to check out are the grittier “Down”, the war cry chanting of “Warrior” and the “Human” which is sort of a power ballad (if there is still such a thing). These four songs are absolutely perfect, but the fifth song in the bunch misses the mark for me. Midway through this set is “I Would Choose You”. It is a great pop song, but is completely out of place in this set. For one, if you are choosing something it would make sense to me to be in “The Mind” sections and not “The Body”. Also, it is very formulaic and a pure pop song where this song is heavier in tone so it does not fit in this grouping at all. If it was placed differently I might not have deleted this song.
The final sections is “The Spirit”. The final interlude is more ethereal in sound. It is the longest of the interludes and the slowest which is the overall feel of the songs in this section. They tend to be slower tempo and have a more ballady feel (is that a word?). There are two problems with this section. First, the transition from “The Spirit” into the song “No Greater Love” is so pitiful. There basically is no transition which breaks from how the other sections operated and a complete misstep.
The second problem is the song “No Greater Love”. It is a great worship song, but does not fit with the feel of the other songs in this set or actually the overall album. I will have to delete this song to keep the best flow of the album.
The variety of songs on this album is amazing and to keep an overall cohesive feel is impressive as well. “Breathe” has some cool synthesizer work and “High” has some soaring vocals and shows more of his talent. Another song I have connected to deeply is “The Other Side”. You can read how this song has touched me in last week’s My Sunday Song (click on the link).
The final song on the album is another of my absolute favorites on the whole album. “Autopsy”. “Autopsy” is about how we are more than our bodies. It is who we are on the inside. It is a slow tempo with basically pianos and his voice. Oh, his voice!! Colton Dixon’s falsetto on this song is ridiculous. Can a guy really get that high!! Vocally is the stellar performance of the year. What a way to end an album.
- “The Mind” – Keeper
- “Identity” – Keeper
- “All That Matters” – Keeper
- “Brand New Life” – Keeper
- “Technicolor” – Keeper
- “The Body” – Keeper
- “In My Veins” – Keeper
- “Down” – Keeper
- “I Would Choose You” – Delete
- “Warriors” – Keeper
- “Human” – Keeper
- “The Spirit” – Keeper
- “No Greater Love” – Delete
- “Breathe” – Keeper
- “High” – Keeper
- “The Other Side” – Keeper
- “Autopsy” – Keeper
15 keepers out 17 songs – 88% (4.4 out 5 stars) I would only delete the two songs I mentioned above and that leaves you with a nice 15 songs including the interludes which are definitely a keeper. This is not an album to put on shuffle. It should be listened to in this order for full effect. I don’t recommend the regular version of the album as it does not have the conceptual feel as it is missing the interludes and 3 of the best songs “In My Veins”, “Warriors” and “Autopsy”. Take my advice and immerse yourself into the wonders of this album.