Caution: The views and opinions expressed in this review are soley the opinions of the Reviewer. This is meant to better the artist and the creative community as a whole. Criticism and critique will take us farther than fluff will.
The first quarter of 2020 is almost halfway done and lots of music is being released or getting ready to be released. But don’t get it twisted, there was some music in 2019 that was skipped over. One such project is Ryan Madison’s ‘Move Mountains’ project.
The first song is the title track “Move Mountains” and on this song Ryan talks about being able to live a life for God. He talks about crucifying his flesh and just living his life for God. This is kind of confusing because the song is called “Move Mountains” but the hooks talks more about climbing mountains. The first line of the song is “moving mountains with my faith” and that’s the only time on the entire song that “moving mountains” is mentioned. The beat sounds really outdated and the siren beat tag was irritating and should have been removed. Second on the project is “Thank You,” which as the song states, is about Ryan giving thanks to the Lord. Ryan does a singing-rap type cadence throughout the entire song. I was not a fan of the beat(sounds dated, a theme that we’ll see occur throughout this entire project) or the way he approached the song. The third song on the project is “Joy” featuring D County and Olympia Carr. This is the first song that actually made me bop a little bit. This song is really upbeat and makes you want to dance. Ryan did a good job skating on the beat and switching up the flow a little. His fellow rapper D County sung a little bit before he jumped into his flow and it sounded pretty good. This track is kind of a stand out song and I’m sure this will be good when performed live.
Halfway through the album and we arrive at “Let The Son Come Up.” I’ve been on the fence about this project up until now, but this song pushed me… but not in the good way. Madison’s Tennessee roots tried to shine through on this record as he did more of his sing-rapping he’s prone to. But it just didn’t work. The beat sounds like it came from a nineties love ballad and Madison didn’t sound good at all. Next is “Born Like This” greets us with some piano chords and then Ryan jumps into the song. Ryan talks about “being born like this” alluding to being born a sinner. Ryan gets into a double time rap flow and it doesn’t sound so bad. Kudos to Madison for trying something different. The song “Surprise definitely has some “twang” to it and perhaps that is due to the guitar licks on the song. This track features Big City and so far is the best sounding song on the entire project. Big City clearly steals the show on this record, but I actually dug the song as it is different an yet not dated. I think Ryan Madison needs to make more music like this.
Ryan’s song “Surprise” bleeds into “Good Time” with some more of the southern vibes, only this time it’s just Ryan on the song. The song has a pretty decent start, but it quickly goes downhill with the police siren beat tag and Ryan starts sing-rapping again. This time Ryan paints us a picture of his family at at reunion of sorts with lines like, ” there’s food on the bar-b-que/don’t worry about what’s bothering you,” and lines like, “I got five different sides and three choices of meats,” it’s clear he’s having a good time indeed. The subject of family being together and memories being forged are dope subjects worth writing about and praising the Lord for. Unfortunately, the idea wasn’t executed very well. The last song on the project is “No Regrets” and it features AJ McInnis and Big City. All of the artists talk about leaving their old lives behind so they can live with no regrets. Big City sounds the best on this song and at last we’ve come to the end of the project.
In conclusion, their’s a lot to be said about this project and a lot I didn’t say. I’m not out to crush anyone’s spirit but this project according to Spotify and Bandcamp, this is Ryan’s first solo project, and truth be told, it definitely sounds like it. From the outdated production to the weak writing, there wasn’t a whole lot of good things I could say about the project. It’s very clear that Ryan Madison loves Jesus and he wants others to hear that love and possibly form their own relationship with the Lord. That’s all well and noble, but a key element in that thought process is that the music has to be good, and unfortunately this isn’t that… to my ears at least. I personally believe that it was way too soon to submit an album to be reviewed by a platform with high visibility. I would suggest that Ryan incorporates more of his Southern roots and southern sounds in his music, and to study some other southern rappers whether they are Christian or secular. Also, whoever Ryan got his beats from that I kept referencing as dated or old sounding, he needs to not use them. If price and availability drove Madison to that production, I suggest he find some newer upcoming producers who can modernize and update whatever sound Madison is going for. It’s clear the zeal and passion is there but the skill level is not equal to the passion. I invite Ryan Madison to take my criticism and tips and try again. Don’t get it twisted, there is a market and probable fan base for the music Ryan Madison makes, I’m just not one of those fans. If you want to listen to uplifting music about Jesus and get behind a new artist on the ground level, then maybe Ryan Madison’s ‘Move Mountains’ is the project for you.0