Michael Speaks

Praise at Your Own Risk

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While most combinations of gospel and R&B start from church-based music and add funky rhythms and arrangements, the music of Michael Speaks approaches the form from the opposite direction. On the evidence of PRAISE AT YOUR OWN RISK, Speaks is primarily an R&B singer who just can't resist praising the Lord, making this album a lot more convincing as a groove-oriented endeavor than much of its competition.

From syncopated drum loops and sampled horn stabs, to turntable scratches and analog synth tones, PRAISE touches on all the trademarks of contemporary R&B, although the lyrics never fail to address spiritual concerns. The lack of self-consciousness necessary to produce the uptempo God-meets-funk "Lord You're Like My Homie" is truly endearing, and proves that Speaks' heart is in the right place.

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