Steve Camp


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This is probably Steve Camp's best album, only in part because he steals his musical ideas from better sources than usual. He has never lacked for honesty or passion, but his lyrical barbs are aimed even more directly than usual (at Ronald Reagan, complacent Christians, Wheel of Fortune, Oral Roberts...). Camp has always aspired to be Keith Green's successor as CCM's foremost fiery prophet, and Justice is his most convincing attempt (he even quotes Green verbatim in one song, singing "as our dear brother Keith once said, we're so well-fed and yet we're dead"). The musical imitations are also convincing: Camp recasts a Larry Norman folk anthem ("Great American Novel") as a Phil Collins synth ballad, and is surprisingly successful in mixing pop polish and gospel vocals with the song's Dylanisms. On "Living Dangerously," Camp perfectly mimics the richness and rhythmic flair of Bruce Hornsby's distinctive keyboard style. "Do You Feel Their Pain" is pure "We Are the World" -- an anti-AIDS ballad with an all-star cast of CCM vocalists. Camp wrote this song at a time when AIDS was hardly the cause du jour in the conservative world of Christian pop, and his arrangement does that courageousness justice. The song's a cappella choral conclusion is powerful enough to shake the most hardened cynic. Originality is not Camp's strong suit, but passion he has in spades.

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