Music Reviews

Legacy Series: Mr Damention – Blue Hearts and Golden Treasures

This series is part of the content migration programme from earlier versions of UKGospel.com, ensuring the history and evolution of the UK Gospel music scene is recorded and publicly accessible

  • Original publication date: 2 March 2015
  • Written and edited by: Yinka Awojobi

New Release from Singer/Songwriter/Drummer/Producer is an Excellent Departure from the Gospel Norm…. 

Back in one of the early UKGospel.com Podcast episodes the team engaged in a heated debate.

It centred around the reasons why many Gospel artists had (and arguably still have) a very narrow expressive palette from which to sing about life experiences. It certainly isn’t because they lack the expertise.  Far from it.

Reverent

However chances are your favourite mainstream Christian radio station or TV show rarely offers anything other than reverent music: you know, the songs that mainly deal with the ‘vertical’, focusing God-ward.  

  • And in many respects, rightly so.  That’s as it should be.  
  • But where then do we – and in this context, our Gospel artists – go to sing about, explore or engage in discussion about ‘horizontal’ issues? The deep and everyday tales of life and living?  

I’m willing to bet that your answer –  whatever it might be – falls under the category  ‘outside of church life’.

Unspoken Rules

Whatever the reason might be and however it’s transpired, we’ve somehow ended up with one of the biggest unspoken rules in popular mainstream Christian music:

  • If you don’t bring your full artistic endeavour to bear addressing grand Christian themes (like deliverance and salvation), don’t bother showing up: there’s a strong possibility you won’t get much exposure –  if any at all.
  • Don’t get me wrong: I realise these are very broad brush strokes I’m painting: Hip-Hop and RnB have covered stories on life and living for years, and the occasional horizontal song does seep through from time to time.  

However the main point here is that much of it doesn’t find its way into our ‘mainstream’.

Losing Talent

  • Perhaps that’s also why the church continues to lose many a promising talent:
  • This unwritten rule makes it difficult to even acknowledge the existence of the greyer issues of faith, restricting the artist’s freedom to chronicle the everyday in a context that may not be overtly connected to faith.

Mr DaMention

Which brings me to the newest release from Dami Adeoye.  If you know him at all it’ll be under his nom de plume ‘Mr DaMention‘, a 24-going-on-25 year-old singer/songwriter/drummer/producer and one of London Gospel’s bright talents.

Blue Hearts  & Golden Treasures

Blue Hearts & Golden Treasures‘ is the latest release in a long line of individual Mr DaMention projects going back quite a few years (he’s worked with the likes of Karl Nova and Triple O, to mention just two other names you’re likely to be familiar with).

It’s telling that when I tweeted him to ask where I could find the new EP his first response was (and I quote): ‘these aren’t love songs to Jesus though’.  

Once again, our unspoken rule kicks in.

Still, this is an extremely strong set.  And like the man says: these ain’t love songs to Jesus, but something much closer to home.  

Blue Hearts & Golden Treasures deals with something more mundane but nevertheless quite universal: the exploration of the love between a boy and a girl.

Yes, folks.  These are love songs, plain and simple.  If that offends you in some way, look away now.

Here’s the shocker, though: Christians fall in love.  And if this our weird convention is to be believed, this process shouldn’t be creatively documented anywhere.  

Thankfully Blue Hearts & Golden Treasures shows what’s possible when this restriction is ignored.

This is a collection of lush RnB, a sensitively written and well-observed slice of life in the best of classic love story conventions: boy meets girl.  Boy likes girl.  Boy pledges love to girl.

Even the longing pain of waiting to hear back from the girl of your dreams is somehow made pleasurably wistful.

High-Flown Language

  • It’s all here: the wonderfully high-flown language and the hope of requited love  (‘The Pearl‘ and ‘More Than Friends‘ are delicious highlights), and the reckless joy of the early stages of falling in love (wonderfully demonstrated in ‘Wear My Love‘ – Nego True deserves special mention for the spoken word segment).
  • And since the original release of the EP, an excellent remix of ‘The Pearl‘ has swiftly followed, featuring Triple O (so you know it’s going to be quality).
  • Production is up the usual impressive DaMention standard, and the entire set is draped in a brilliant, mellow sonic atmosphere that works wonders for the subject matter.

In case you’re still in any doubt: I not only really like this project, I urge you to download it and give it a listen yourself.

The sooner we can encourage our artists to explore and express the entirety of life and living every which way they can, the sooner the entirety of Christian music becomes all the better, richer and more fulfilling for it…

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