|Plus One - The Promise|
|Music Disc Reviews Audio CD|
|Written by Bryan Dailey|
|Tuesday, 23 May 2000|
143 Records, 2000
| Performance 7 | Sound 8 |
Plus One is a group that seems like a sure-fire winner. Take super-producer David Foster, who has written and produced more hit songs than just about anyone in the music business, and pair him with a hand-picked group of guys between the ages of 17 and 21, who could be mistaken for the Backstreet Boys or ‘N Sync. The result is the group Plus One. I know what you are thinking: Does the world need another boy band comprised of teen magazine cover models singing sugary pop songs?
With the astronomical amount of money spent by teenaged girls’ parents on this type of music, there is obviously still room out there for another group like this. What sets Plus One apart from the other teenybopper bands that are currently dominating the sales charts is that they are a Christian group. Now parents who don’t want to expose their teenagers to oversexed music from the likes of Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears have a well-produced alternative in Plus One’s new album ‘The Promise.’
I’m just going to flat-out say that I am not a fan of this type of music. This does not mean that the music is bad. In fact, the songwriting, performances and production on ‘The Promise’ are nearly flawless for this genre. Containing nothing but three-to-four-minute pop songs with catchy hooks, lush harmonies and positive messages, ‘The Promise’ under Foster’s guidance puts Plus One on track to be a successful pop act. Only time will tell if they will be able achieve mainstream crossover success a la Amy Grant.
From the opening song "Written on my Heart" to the final song "My Friend," every track is nonthreatening sugary pop that never tries to be anything else. The musicianship is topnotch, but you’re not going to find any Dave Matthews Band-type jam sections in the songs or any Santana-inspired guitar solos. Most 14-year old girls don’t know what the pentatonic scale is and probably don’t care. The music is so formulaic that it can get a bit tired, but if you are a 14-year-old girl, chances are, it will work for you.
The strongest track on the album, "Written on my Heart," will be the first single. When it hits MTV and mainstream radio stations, Plus One will have a good shot at becoming a household name band. Based around a medium tempo dance beat with big vocal harmonies, it is the one song on the album written by David Foster, whose authorship shows. There are plenty of other tracks that would enjoy great success on the radio, such as "Here in My Heart" and "Soul Tattoo," but "Written on my Heart" has a level of polish to it that none of the other tracks can match.
Sonically, ‘The Promise’ is about as good as any record I have heard this year, with crystal clear production and a great sense of depth and space. The only flaw that stands out to me is excessive reverb on some of the lead vocal tracks. It can be a bit distracting, but can you remember the last big-production love song that didn’t have a ton of reverb on the vocals?
Would I buy this album? I wouldn’t purchase it for myself, but I might pick up a copy for my little sister. If I were stuck on a desert island and was given a pile of boy bands and had to pick one to listen to, I’d choose Plus One over the others that are out there. I know that doesn’t sound like a glowing review of the band, but Plus One does well for what they are, singing tunes with a spin to them and a Christian music angle that isn’t overly preachy.