Deitrick Haddon: Church on the Moon

Posted March 4, 2011 by J Matthew Cobb in Reviews 1.0

Super-galactic adventure describes urban gospel star’s latest journey

Imagine if you will, the superstar sparkle of Kirk Franklin and the bravado of Michael Jackson entangled around fashionable hip-hop beats and urban contemporary extravagance. It’s probably the safest way to describe urban gospel star Deitrick Haddon. He’s since dropped his choirboy image for the cool street evangelist look since 7 Days, his 2006 project produced by hip-hop duo Tim & Bob. On his fifth studio album for Verity, Haddon plays with the concept album motif of Ne-Yo’s Libra Scale to kick off a futuristic gospel sound that plays with the Legos of Lady Gaga and Black Eyed Peas. It’s highly ambitious, crammed tightly with eighteen tracks loaded with lots of cyber-pop and even Auto-tune. Club bounce surfaces on “Reppin’ the Kingdom,” where Haddon steps back from the spotlight to allow fellow gospel contemporaries J Moss, Canton Jones and Tye Tribbett to work in their verses. “Show Stopper” swerves into Chris Brown-style pop, while the Rodney Jerkins-produced “Power,” “One More Chance” and “Fighting Temptation” keeps him on the precipice of R&B crossover. Melodic ballads do offer up some needed balance on the lengthy set. His finest intimate moment, while staying in the realm of extraterrestrial fantasy, is “Gravity,” where Haddon deals with the pressures of Earth:”Wanna share with the world the peace that I’ve found/But gravity keeps on bringing me down.” Halfway into the set, the mood shifts from Lowrider crunk to worshipful gospel (“You Are My Strength,” “Well Done”). “Baby You’re a Star” is the second half’s biggest reward, where Haddon dons Pink’s “F**kin’ Perfect” without having to rush to the closest confessional.

It’s best to describe Church on the Moon as being two albums in one (much like Janelle Monae’s ArchAndroid), but it would have been far superior had it been trimmed of some of the unnecessary gristle and fat. Then, Church on the Moon would have felt a bit more definitive. Although most concept LPs are usually half-done and bear a sense of incompleteness, Haddon’s adventure doesn’t suffer from that crisis technically. Instead it’s more of a long space trip that leaves you wishing once you surpass the halfway mark you were back at home on Earth.




  • Release Date: 25 January 2011
  • Label: Verity
  • Producers: Deitrick Haddon, Rodney Jerkins
  • Spin This: ”Gravity,” “Power,” “Baby, You’re a Star”

About the Author

J Matthew Cobb

Managing editor of HiFi Magazine



    The album’s a classic

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