Franklin releases powerful message

Kirk Franklin’s latest release Hero is an uplifting gospel centered masterpiece. Franklin’s image of youth centered music cannot be categorized as such on this project. Hero appeals to the young crowd as well as more established audiences. Franklin has always been a trend setter musically. However, Hero showcases his musical and God-filled passion to minister to the individual.

On track No. 5, “Let it Go,” Franklin samples “Shout” by Roland Orzabal and Ian Stanley. The sound is a throwback with a slow undercover beat. This song is a portion of the journey in his personal life. It deals with the hurt he has caused people, and the hurt he has endured as a young man. This song speaks to the person who has been disappointed and used.

It is a song of repentance as well as restoration for those who have suffered loss. It is surprising that this song made it to the final track list. Not that it isn’t worthy, it’s just that the song is so real and deals with so many issues that people struggle to talk about. It’s actually refreshing to hear someone tell the whole truth about what they’ve done and the consequences that are a result of their choices.          

  On track No. 9, “Better,” his vocalists express the natural desire to settle for less, before realizing that “no weapon will prosper,” and God will make it better. Franklin continues to exhibit his God-given ability to make hot tracks on this one. This song has a bright melody, and the hook “It’s gonna get better” has a way of replaying itself in your mind.

Several gospel powerhouses appear on the twenty track release. The CD begins with the intro of the African Children’s Choir singing “America the Beautiful.” The title track “Hero” is performed by his vocalists with Dorinda Clark Cole. He then performs a small interlude snippet with Fred Hammond. J- Moss and Tye Tribbett sing a song of thanks giving and praise “Could’ve Been.” It is a party/rejoice song thanking God for his providence. Yolanda Adams sings “Afterwhile” and Marvin L. Winans sings “Broken Hearted.” The last guest appearance is made by Stevie Wonder as he sings “Why.”  

More important than the featured artists on Hero, is the message Kirk Franklin presents. He presents the good news of Jesus Christ just as he should be presented: as someone who is concerned with the problems of today. Jesus forgives our sins and accepts us even in our hypocrisy. “The Outro,” is more of a faith confession that prayer is for anyone who can see through the popularity of media portrayal as it pertains to the black man and more specifically the black Church.

This album does more than make you want to dance. It challenges conventional thinking as well as points to the remedy _” Jesus _” our Hero! I highly recommend this CD for all listeners who are interested in music that ministers to all people. 4.5 stars.