Hawk Nelson Is My Friend

Hawk Nelson

BEC Recordings, 2008


REVIEW BY: Daniel Camp


After a debut album that thrust them into the contemporary Christian music spotlight as the up-and-coming Christian pop-punk band and a sophomore album that brought them to mainstream audiences with the commercial/movie-friendly singles “Bring ‘Em Out” and “The Show,” Hawk Nelson’s third album was expected by many to be the charm that would launch them to fame and fortune.

Hawk Nelson Is My Friend is entertaining, but it is not that anticipated masterpiece.

From the beginning, with grungy-sounding guitars leading into “You Have What I Need” and an initially unfamiliar vocalist, my first reaction to the album was not the goofy smile I expected, but a puzzled frown. When familiar Hawk Nelson staples like unison chants and excellent harmonies stepped into the picture, my doubts began to take a back seat and enjoyment set in -- but nevertheless,  my joyful expectations had already been stifled.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The lead single “Friend Like That” is a much better track, and it is really what gets the album rolling with lyrics that are simple (and honestly too dense to fit the chorus), yet aid in carrying the happy-go-lucky message of the song. This would have been a much better choice for the opening track than the alienating “You Have What I Need.”

My favorite track on the album is one of the slower choices, “One Little Miracle,” a song in which the narrator, a down-on-his luck character, craves something to help him repair the relationship that he can feel crumbling around him. This song, more than any other on the album, seems to be a heartfelt message from the band. For those that opt for the special edition CD, the acoustic version with Amy Grant is actually an improvement on the original; her gorgeous vocals blend perfectly with both Jason Dunn’s and with the song’s message.

After this high point, however, the album returns to a state of what seems like satisfied mediocrity. Tracks like “Let’s Dance” and “Ancient History” are peppy and make for good songs to listen to on an afternoon drive, but are also utterly forgettable.

Slower songs like “Somebody Else” and “I Still Miss You” are sweet and sentimental, but nothing really stands out and demands a repeat. As a listener craving a thrill, I enjoyed the ride, but had no compelling reason to get back in line.

Thrill-less really summarizes all of Hawk Nelson Is My Friend. It makes for a pleasant summer listen and is guaranteed to bring a smile to your face. But like a smile, this album simply lacks staying power.

Rating: C+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


© 2008 Daniel Camp and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of BEC Recordings, and is used for informational purposes only.