Review Rating: Must Listen! [4.8 / 5]
Since his days as frontman for the former Royal Tailor, Houston-based Tauren Wells has become a beloved staple within contemporary Christian music. Known for his signature vocals and upbeat music, Tauren's pre-released singles have met critical acclaim and resonated with listeners. Now, with the release of a new collection, his music has developed all the further. Hills And Valleys takes listeners from quiet moments of encouragement to a strong, fast-paced, energetic celebration of Christ's goodness and faithfulness.
The album opens with a soft note that will remind fans of Black And White, only to kick into an upbeat and energetic tune. "When We Pray" is an excellent album opener that instantly engages listeners with catchy beats and encouraging lyrics. Tauren's wide range of enthusiastic vocals lead the drums, clapping, and electronic sounds that tie the song together into a track sure to become a fan favorite. Its lyrics describe the effects of prayer, when we pray for God's will to be done. Additionally, there is a level of musical and spiritual maturity that definitely demonstrates just how far Tauren has come with his music.
"All About You" picks up the energy even further, with lyrics describing God's power and Tauren's desire to make his life all about his Savior. "Never Let Me Go" continues just as strong, being a celebration of the Lord's constant and unchanging presence. Across "Nothing But You" and "Undefeated," Tauren blends his signature pop-electronic-gospel style with rap beats, inviting guests Davies and KB to spit some bars alongside his passionate vocals. There is a wide amount of variety across the album, both melodically and lyrically.
Arguably the most energetic song on the album, however, is the popular pre-release hit "Love Is Action." This is the track where Tauren unleashes, with fast-paced electronic beats and a wide range of vocals that propel the song along. Its lyrics, as per the song title, demonstrate the need for one's love for Christ to play out as action.
Tauren also proves how he can write thoughtful and personal songs that take the time to slow down and meet listeners where they are at. "Hills And Valleys," the title track, is such a song. Trading the electronic energy for guitar and gentle beats, Tauren sings of God's presence during the good moments and hills of life, just as much as He remains in the bad and valleys. Near the end of the album, Tauren sings a personal note of encouragement with the slow and thought-provoking "God's Not Done With You."
Hills And Valleys combines so many elements, melodically and lyrically, into a fun and engaging collection. The pop-electronic-gospel sounds engage audiences in ways rarely heard before and the lyrics are so relatable and personal. If that was not enough, Tauren Wells' walk with the Lord shows clearly across every lyric, inspiring listeners all the further. For fans of his solo work, Royal Tailor, or anywhere in between, Hills And Valleys is guaranteed to be an enjoyable listening experience.