Various Artists: Blessed and Cursed (Motion Picture Soundtrack)

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Posted September 13, 2010 by J Matthew Cobb in Reviews 1.0

vablessedandcursed00Deitrick Haddon’s jump into film leaves his cuts on the companion soundtrack vulnerable and with a feeling of incompleteness; the other performers make up for the loss

Gospel singer/producer Deitrick Haddon has now made the big leap into the fold of making movies. With the release of the Tyscot-produced theatric film Blessed & Cursed, the young buck with a handful of albums already in his arsenal and with over twenty years of gospel history, is now pushing his creative control beyond the music studio. Certainly the film is debatable and yelps for a critical overhaul, but we’re not surveying the movie here.

Haddon enlists his Detroit ensemble, Voices of Unity, to carry out much of the hard work but he does bring in a few trusted names (Lowell Pye, Michelle Williams, Jessica Reedy) to help elevate the songs beyond its purpose of movie filler. It may have been a more delicious treat to see some of the film’s stars, mostly gospel artists like Rance Allen, Kierra Sheard and 21:03’s Jo’reel Quinn, show up on the set but Haddon works with what he’s got.

Probably the biggest of the album’s irritants, Haddon rambles a bit about the movie on the opening and closing of some of the songs in a way that it comes off sounding like radio infomercials. But the soundtrack is definitely fertile ground for Haddon and a satisfying journey into Haddon’s urban praise. “So What” blends rock and hip-hop well, “Over Again” focuses on a breezy pallette of rock/pop, “Judah (Let Me Hear You Praise” blends light rock with Detroit praise team energy and “One Touch,” vocally sweetened by Damita and Sean Harding, works Southern quartet energies into an infectious R&B groove. “Praise In the House” also surrenders to the old school hand-clapping of traditional gospel in the style of John P. Kee and brings in Lowell Pye and BET’s Sunday Best contestant Jessica Reedy to round out the soulful affair.

Some songs work better than others and some falter in capturing the glow they possess on the small screen. After hearing Haddon work through Auto-tune (“I’m Blessed”) and hearing signs of writer’s bloc by trying to manipulate a familiar Stylistics melody on “Don’t Leave Me Now,” you start calculating the obvious: Haddon had to be more focused and devoted on finishing up the film. Some of the songs, like Damita’s “Breath Away,” “Over Again” and “One Touch,” never even appear in the film. Ironic to those who experienced both the film and the music companion, those happen to be the better songs. Just because Deitrick is the apparent star of the show, that doesn’t mean he has the upper hand in upstaging the soundtrack’s roster. Clearly it’s the other performances that help save the disc from being just another pointless marketing tool.

J MATTHEW COBB

HIFI DETAILS

  • Release Date: 29 Jun 2010
  • Label: Tyscot
  • Producers:  Deitrick Haddon, Cordell Walton, Jon Webb, Tim & Bob, Blaze the Champ
  • Track Favs: One Touch, So What, Judah (Let Me Hear You Praise), Over Again

About the Author

J Matthew Cobb

Managing editor of HiFi Magazine


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