Review: Gordon Chambers – Surrender

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It’s hard to imagine that a storied stalwart of a songwriter like Gordon Chambers would have lost his way or questioned his own legacy. With over two decades of experience penning hits for superstar recording artists from Whitney Houston to Beyonce, not to mention his breakout success with Brownstone’s 1994 hit “If You Love Me”, his legacy as a songwriter precedes him. But, in the context of his career as an independent performance artist, which really began in 2005 at the urging of fellow singer-songwriter and friend Eric Roberson, Chambers began to question what his legacy really was at the end of the day. Beyond being songwriter to the stars, he needed to understand how it fit into this ever evolving music industry being a solo artist forging his own path. Since the release of Introducing Gordon Chambers, three well-received albums have followed, including his new and most personal project entitled Surrender. The album was created during one of the most vulnerable and tumultuous times in his life. Coping not only with the deaths of several family members and his beloved Whitney Houston, but also with a devastating fire that destroyed his home, Surrender is about the sheer courage it took for Chambers to truly relinquish control, trust in a higher power, affirm his faith and find true meaningful direction in his life.

Surrender emerges as a spirited inspirational album that celebrates love with a capital L. Love of self, family and friends, and, of course, romantic partnership. Gordon Chambers clearly enjoys exploring the choices we make, for better or worse, being participants of love as indicated on songs like “The Diamond Inside” and “Back To Love” featuring Lalah Hathaway. Then there are the more communal aspects of love in the way of gratitude and sheer appreciation for the sacrifices and encouragement from loved ones to become one’s best self, expressed on songs like “I’ll Never Forget It”, “Circle Of Love”, and “Unconditional”. The album’s first single, “I Made It”, featuring Eric Roberson and Steff Reed, is a deeply raw and emotional acknowledgment of how fleeting life can be and one’s ability to persevere through the inevitable struggles along the journey. “My Way”, the most autobiographical song on the album, provides a lens into the last several years of Chambers’ world and internal struggles, and what he’s learned from the painful lessons. Yet, his rendition of the old gospel hymn “I Surrender All” with Shedrick Mitchell on organ offsets his inability to figure out all of life’s challenges by his own strength by instead surrendering to the Almighty. While it cannot be overlooked that the album feels familiar yet consistent to all of his previous releases, of the twelve tracks one highlight includes Gordon Chambers’ rendition of Brandy’s “One Voice”, which he penned in 1998 for her multi-platinum release Never Say Never. The message of the song rings authentic to Chambers’ vision for his own legacy, not only as a songwriter, but as an artist: “If I’ve got one chance, one choice / I’ll sing it from the heart / with one song, one voice.”

 
Written by Mai Perkins

Originally from Los Angeles, Mai Perkins is living a genuine bona fide love affair with NYC and the music that keeps its spirit moving. While spending the majority of the last decade in Brooklyn, many of her adventures around the globe are documented on her blog: Mai On The Move! www.MaiOnTheMove.com

 
Author’s rating for Surrender

Pop Magazine’s official rating for Surrender

Rating key
MASTERPIECE a must-have
SUPERB for heavy rotation
EXCELLENT a great achievement
VERY GOOD a respectable result
GOOD worth checking out
FAIR an average outcome
WEAK not convincing stuff
BAD an underwhelming effort
VERY BAD quite a waste
FAIL a total failure

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