My Rating: Must Listen (4.0/5)
After his well-received first full-length album, David Dunn is back with his second album, Yellow Balloons. The album encapsulates Dunn’s struggles and fears in the wake of the tragic death of his niece. Many of the songs pose honest and sobering questions such as, “Can it be that [God] can see me in the dark?” However, there is also a distinct tone of hope throughout the album.
“Open Arms” begins with a simple drum beat and guitar. They lyrics ask whether God is big enough to handle the darkness we find ourselves in. The chorus provides the answer with the lyrics, “He is always there with open arms,” and bass and synth accompany the lyrics, making the chorus explosive and driving. The musical interlude between the chorus and bridge includes a soulful electric guitar solo. It is the type of song that you will want to be singing and dancing along to from the start.
Synth-driven “Ruins,” speaks of the miracle that in our darkest, most broken ruins, God is “building something new.” The electric bass, synth, and drums make “ruins” a fun and energetic pop song. The bridge comes down into simple piano, and then erupts again into the dance rhythm of the chorus.
The title track, “Yellow Balloons,” stands apart from the other songs on the album because of its stripped-down feel. The rawness of the single guitar and vocals mirrors the raw honesty of the lyrics. Dunn sings of the pain that comes with loss, specifically the loss of his own niece. He wonders “What was [God] doing?” and sings “we wish that we knew why You took her to Heaven so soon.” And yet, he still prayerfully sings, “We beg for Your presence, we beg for more of You.” It is a beautiful song where pain and hope collide.
Dunn’s thoughtfully honest lyrics portray deep pain as well as soaring hope and trust. And although he cites tragedy as a key inspiration for this album, the music looks beyond the tragedy to joy and celebration. From energetic synth to stripped-down acoustic, the songs on Yellow Balloons convey a message of hope and light in the midst of darkness.