With This Ring

Various Artists

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With This Ring Review

by Jonathan Widran

This compilation is a great marketing idea on the part of the R&B/gospel label Harborwood Records in that numerous young genre performers are presented in the irresistible package of a wedding album. Listeners whose nuptials are impending are liable to get all gooey at the moody romantic vibe of the tunes, but most likely anything sweet and romantic will touch them that way. Those who are Christians will obviously respond emotionally to the mentions of God's involvement in picking the love of their lives. For the rest, it's just not terribly engaging. Some of the vocalists are obviously gifted, most notably Maurette Brown-Clark ("I Believe in Love") and Commissioned ("All Because of You"), but too many of these songs are just generic and sappy, slickly produced pop/soul songs. Just for comparison's sake, Commissioned is like Boyz II Men and Duawne Starling (who sings weepy soul over an acoustic guitar) is a Tony Rich clone. Those who actually do find these songs interesting are given a special bonus with five of the songs presented at the end as instrumentals you can sing over. Because the grooves are slow and sensuous, this would make good background music for the wedding night. But as Christian-themed wedding songs, none of these come close to the powerful "I Will Be Here" by Steven Curtis Chapman.

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