Album review: ‘Live Through It’ by James Fortune, FIYA
It’s been a long time coming for James Fortune and FIYA. After several impactful studio records, it was about time they added a live record to their discography.
The new live album, “Live Through It,” which was released today feels like church on cd. That was intentional according to Fortune.
“The vision for this live album was to be able to present songs of praise that could be sung in churches all over the world to bring glory to God,” he said.
The album, which was recorded in Atlanta in front of an audience of 5,000, features award-winning gospel artists and singers such as Israel Houghton, Tasha Cobbs, Isaac Carree, Bishop Hezekiah Walker, Da’ T.R.U.T.H, Alexis Spight, Zacardi Cortez. It even has a spoken word intro by Kirk Franklin.
Fortune said having so many guests and a great audience made for a memorable night of
“I am truly grateful to have been able to work with some of the most gifted and anointed singers and musicians in the world for this recording,” he said. “This was truly an unforgettable night of worship that is sure to touch millions all over the world.”
Spiritually, the album will bring the Holy Spirit to listeners by taking people to that place of worship and praise that they may not have experienced in a while.
The first song “Built For This” is just an energetic Gospel tune that centers on the people God is molding us to be. For some reason the instrumentation on this one reminds me of something from Michael Jackson. The song DA’ T.R.U.T.H spits a few bars on this track.
Feeding off of the frenzy of “Built For This,” James & FIYA perform “Best Praise,” which is a triumphant tune ushering in a celebratory atmosphere of praise.
Next up is “All For Me.” The danceable groove on this track is paired with infectious chanting of “You did it all for me….oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh…” The song features the vocal stylings of Alexis Spight. Her vocals match the momentum of the song. Later Spight slows the tempo down to bring the song to a more soulful end.
“The Way You See It” tackles out (oftentime wrong) self-perceptions. The song encourages listeners to see themselves from God’s vantage point, and not from an earthly point of view. Fortune even encourages listeners to take a selfie and post online with the hashtag #ILoveWhoIAm.
Gospel’s golden girl Tasha Cobbs joins in to lift Jesus on the spirited worship tune “We Give Your Glory.” With her powerhouse voice, she leads and lifts God in worship. It’s one of the highlights of the album.
Another of the great standout songs on the album is “Forever.” Here, Fortune and FIYA magnify Jesus and remind people of the sacrifice He made on the cross.
Zacardi Cortez calls on God to fight battles and rain down His power in the appropriately titled “Let Your Power Fall.”
“Live Through It” is the album title-track, but it falls short artistically as the team reapplies old formulas similar to previous records like “Still Able,” “You Survived,” “It Could Have Been Worse” and “I Believe.” Although predictable, the message is undeniably motivating, and inspiring, as it is a rousing declaration of triumph over obstacles through faith.
“Just Smile,” on the other hand, shifts the record into an unpredictably soulful zone. Here, two female vocalists give an astonishing performance, while encouraging listeners to smile no matter the situation. “Empty Me” which features Isaac Carree clearly stands out mostly because of the tune’s lyrical depth.
I also love how “Empty Me” connects to the next song “Light Your Way,” which features Israel Houghton. “Light Your Way” deviates from standard Gospel fare in that it has a Pop/Rock edge. Though it could’ve been a disaster, it works. It is one of the best songs on the record.
The next song, “Miracles,” is powerful. Think of it as testimonies set to music.
“Live Through It” is a 2014 must-have gospel album. Musically, it is James Fortune and FIYA at their best. They have made such an epic live record– a record that far surpasses their previous studio efforts. Instrumentally, the drums were always on point; however, I do wish there were more strings. Spiritually, the album will bring the Holy Spirit to listeners by taking people to that place of worship and praise that they may not have experienced in a while.