Everyone knows that the first album an artist releases is usually one of their best if not the best album they ever release. Sometimes an artist strikes lightning and their first project does astronomically well, and the artist spends the rest of their career chasing that first album. Last year I was fortunate to review Psalm’s debut project ‘Covenant’ that he released in the summer of 2016. He recently released his sophomore project ‘Deathproof’ and of course you wonder if the “sophomore slump” was real but I’m happy to say that this album was just as good if not better than ‘Covenant.’ Let’s dive into this project track by track and see what Psalm is saying to the listeners.
The album starts with “Long Way Back” which is this somber and cinematic sounding instrumental. Psalm spits double time about those feeling like they are feeling lost looking for better days. They know they want better days and want to do the right things but don’t know how. The chorus speaks to the fact that it’s a long way back to the right path from wherever the listener is. Towards the very end of the song Psalm sings, “you don’t have to block the sun just let some light in” and the song abruptly ends. Next we have “Out Of Here” and this song sounds a bit more triumphant than the previous track and Psalm just dives in rapping about how God can you bring you out of whatever and wherever you are in. The guitar riffs are a nice touch and Psalm hops back into the second verse talking about how when we call out to God sometimes it feels like there’s a lot of things we can’t do so we want to go back to our old ways, until we need Him again. But if you get to know God you realize only in Him can one get the peace and healing they are looking for. Third on the album is “Walking Dead” featuring Sekond Chaynce, this kind of has a West Coast Bounce mixed with a haunting feel to it. Sekond starts the song off speaking on the ills of the world and Psalm on the hook tells us, “the world is over it’s a Zombie Apocalypse and now we know it ain’t what we thought it is. I’m trying hard trying hard to see God in this, but I think I know what the problem is.” Psalm raps on the second verse about how we are being controlled by what we see and hear, being flooded with things that don’t bring life have everyone walking around like walking zombies. On “One More Time” we hear a piano playing some somber keys and Psalm jumps into how he’s feeling and the lines, “I know I don’t pray enough and when I do I don’t feel like I ever say enough” really jump out and hit home. Many of us can relate to those lines. We need to hear God tell us He loves us and He has us just “one more time” as the title of the song states.
We turn a corner on the project with “Frontline” featuring Young Bro. Psalm and Young Bro team up to rap about how they are ready to be on the frontlines of the battle to be a Christian and represent Christ. This beat is a nice beat you can almost hear an army march to. “I’ll be on that frontline covered in His blood now” sums up the song quite nicely on the hook. On “Good Over Bad” featuring Pyrexx and Jesse James, we find the three artists talking about their struggles but through it all “The good outweighs the bad.” Pyrexx set the song off followed by Jesse James, and Psalm wrapped the song up, this was a solid song on the project. One of the standout songs on this album is “Mask” featuring Triple Thr33. Psalm talks about how he wears a mask to hide how he really feels. The chant “so why I gotta wear a mask” repeated over and over really brings the point home. Triple Thr33 glides on his verse about how he won’t wear a mask and how God has made it so we don’t have to wear any masks anymore. The stand out single was “God of my Soul” featuring Bryann Trejo. The breakaway single of the album hits us with some ambient sounds and piano chords. Psalm speaks about how he knows he messes up but he knows that God is still in control. Many of us only praise God in the good times but what if it’s a long time before we get to those good times again? Bryan Trejo’s, “I’m dancing in the rain why you tryna wait the storm out/ imma praise His name even if He don’t take this thorn out” bars really hit home on this song. We really hit a groove with Psalm’s “On My Face” featuring NAK. This song brings in with the first few stabs of the piano, Psalm teams up with NAK to beg God to keep them on their faces before God. Being prostrate goes counter culture to everything mainstream media feeds us so this song is a good reminder that to rise we have to first be on our Faces before our God.
We head into final quarter of the album with “The Break Up” featuring Dav1d and Supaman. This song serves as a reminder to the believer that when we are in Christ we essentially break up with the World and our old lives of sin. The auto tune hook is a nice touch to this song. Next we have “Out With The Old” featuring Dav1d and Jesse James feels and sounds very similar to “The Break Up.” Another good song “Give It All Away” definitely has more of the bounce that’s been on the whole album becomes more pronounced on this song. Psalm waxes poetic on this song about the things we pursue but juxtaposes that with the hook , “will you give it all away?” He goes in about people’s opinions, validation online, and so many other things but he really wants us to lay it down. His bar, “we won’t look up from our screens long enough to live our life” really hits home. The sound of this song has the most crossover appeal and it’s definitely one of my favorites on the project. Heading into the last legs of the album Psalm reminds us to “Call the Name” featuring Jesse James. Psalm encourages us to “call the name of the one who holds you” and Jesse also does the same with his verse. This song could be played in church and on Christian radio stations. It has a very CCM and worship type feel to this song, and get it is not out of place on the album. Psalm reminds us on the second to last track that Jesus is the “Only Way” featuring Marz. This song opens up with some auto tune scatting and instantly gets your head to nodding, this song may be the saucier and grooves track on the entire album. It’s interesting that Marz and Psalm both chose to go fast on this song as the vibes would maybe have made more sense to slowly and smoothly on this track. Psalm started off slow, sped up, and then slowed down and the change ups were much appreciated. No hook just two verses on this song made it one of the shortest songs in the album. The last song is “Fresh” and Psalm runs solo on it just letting us know that He is Fresh only because of Christ and that if you place your faith in Christ, you can be fresh as well.
In conclusion, Psalm’s ‘Deathproof’ is definitely an album worth getting. He stripped down to 15 songs as opposed to the 22 tracks that were on his debut album, and I think the project is all the better for it. Psalm really wanted to communicate the fact that Believers in Christ are really death proof. He said in an interview that the day he dies will be the best day of his life. And that’s not because he’s suicidal, it’s because he knows that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. The production was on point, the songs didn’t all sound the same but they also weren’t so different that you would think they didn’t belong on the same album. I believe this project will and has already begun to open doors for Psalm, so this is the perfect time to become a fan of Psalm’s. Do yourself a favor and go cop ‘Deathproof!’