Album Review: Plus One, “Exodus” (2003)

When Plus One first arrived on the music scene in 2000, they were labelled the “Christian boy band”. The five members, Jason Perry, Jeremy Mhire, Nate Cole, Gabe Combs, and Nathan Walters had good looks, tight harmonies, and love songs that were good enough to compete with any other boy band out at the time. The thing that was always appealing to me, though, were their songs: honest (although cheesy at times), inspiring songs about God’s love and living life as a Christian.

They released two albums, The Promise (2000), and Obvious (2002), and although both albums were fairly successful, the group took a hiatus in 2002, and remained fairly quiet for about a year.

Then, in 2003, after Perry left the group to go solo, and Mhire left to get married, Plus One arrived back on the music scene with an edgier sound. They left behind their previous boy band sound and image, and adopted a grittier rock sound. Not only that, but the boys had taken on the task of writing, arranging, and performing their own music. The result is Exodus, Plus One’s best album, and one of my favorite Christian albums to date.

Outlaw starts off the album. The sound is a little less edgier than other tracks on the album, but it works well. This song is about being your new self (after being saved), but not forgetting who you were in the past. I think any Christian could relate to this song, I know I really can.

Tonight follows, and is one of my favorites. The song starts off with some great guitar work done by Combs, and then segues into Cole singing. I love the lyrics in this song. The first verse creates some great imagery (“I wanna walk down third street slow/Drive up and down the coast/Watching the sunset hang/While God puts on his show”), and the rest of the song is wonderful, as Nate sings about wanting to forget himself and focus on God’s will. The bridge is probably my favorite part, as Nate sort of chants the lyrics…it just works exquisitely. I love this song so much.

The first single from the album was Be Love. It got a lot of play on Christian radio, but it’s not one of my favorites. The sentiment is great- we should all love one another as we love ourselves (Matthew 22:39), but musically, the song is a bit of a let down after the previous ones. This song is probably the only one on the album that is anything close to what Plus One was like as a boy band. Sea Of Angels opens with a nice piano intro, and gives off a relaxing mood. The first thing that caught my attention about this song was the lyrics. They are quite interesting, and at the same time, odd…so that it takes you (or at least it took me) a couple of listens before understanding them completely. I think the guys were trying to be a bit too complex with the lyrics here, and it ends up seeming like they were trying too hard. However, the bridge is more simplistic and is my favorite part of the song.
Poor Man starts off pretty simple and quiet, but by the chorus it’s kicked up several notches and has gotten quiet loud. I really like this song as well. I think it was the second single, and a great choice to show people that the guys have really departed from the boy band thing and could be classified as an actual rock band. This song is about laying your riches up in Heaven and traveling down the “straight and narrow” (Matthew 7:13-14).  Meanwhile, Quest Of Many Trails  is one of my favorite Plus One songs and favorite songs, period, probably. Musically, the song starts off very soft, and builds up towards the chorus, much like other tracks on this album. This song is about life’s challenges and difficulties, and how we shouldn’t let them get us down. I just really love this song, and anyone could relate to the lyrics. Cole’s voice is also very beautiful on this track.

Exodus is probably my second favorite song on the album. It has sort of an anthem feel to it, especially during the chorus and bridge. There’s not one thing about this song I dislike; musically Plus One has really challenged themselves- the guitar and drum work done here is superb, and Cole sounds terrific. Lyrically, the song is also stellar; the lyrics are a plea to God to deliver us from hard times. This is such a great song! The beginning of Circle reminds me of a Native American chant or something, for some reason or the other. Anyway, this is another great selection. This song is about having complete and utter trust in God, and revolving your life around Him (hence the title). This song inspires me to be at this place spiritually, everyday.

I’m sure you’ve heard Here I Am To Worhsip, whether you’re a Christian or not. You just can’t escape it. Even if you haven’t heard the full song, you’ve probably heard it on a commercial late at night for a praise and worship CD or something. It’s a good song, and I like it a lot, but I’m not really sure why Plus One decided to cover it for this album. It doesn’t quite fit in with the rest of the songs (excluding Circle which might one day be qualified as a praise song itself), so it’s a bit awkward. It’s a nice cover, but nothing special. Even the guys know it’s been done- the lyrics aren’t even included in the liner notes.

The album ends with Like A Kite, my third favorite song off the album. This one is about straying away from God, but coming back, “like a kite”. I love the lyrics- I can relate to them almost on a daily basis. I think every Christian strays away during their walk, but the important thing is that we can always go back, and God is always there waiting for us to return. Cole and Combs (who wrote this song, as well as tracks #1, 6, and 7) capture this idea perfectly through this song.

Exodus is a fantastic release from Plus One.  The group has shedded some members as well as their “boy band” image and the result is an edgier, more mature sound, while remaining focused on a God-centered message and lyrics.

Rating: 5_stars.svg

Track List
1. Outlaw
2. Tonight
3. Be Love
4. Sea of Angels
5. Poor Man
6. Quest of Many Trails
7. Exodus
8. Circle
9. Here I Am to Worship
10. Like a Kite

*This is a “classic” review. I have edited this review for content and formatting, though retained my original opinion of the product.

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