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Eternal Life: The Party Album
Artist: Nick Alexander
Label: Independent
Length: 11/44:21

Nick Alexander's second album is a thematic piece ­ ten songs about Heaven and looking forward to getting there.  Some of these songs are a little more modern than on  A Time to Laugh ­ parodies of the Barenaked Ladies and Lenny Kravitz are here, but there are still tunes to attract the thirty- and forty-somethings among us ­ Eddy Grant, ELO, Tommy Tutone, Gloria Gaynor, Cream, The Vapors, and Billy Joel get the treatment on this disc.

Ron Zabrocki returns as producer as musician extraordinaire, playing all instruments (guitar, drums, synthesizer, bass, piano) and adding backup vocals at times.  Alexander writes the songs and performs lead vocals.  His vocals are improved slightly here, although at times his sounds resembles that of The Church Lady from the old Saturday Night Live Skit.

The highlight here is "Teaching Them to Read," a track about missionaries posing as teachers in order to get the Word of God across.  It is a redone version of "Turning Japanese," the Vapors song.  "Monastery Trip" (Cream's "White Room") is also well written and performed.

Some of the choices here make me scratch my head ­ "These Beads", a retooling of the Heart song "These Dreams," betrays Alexander's lack of range vocally, and also is theologically questionable.  "Canonized a Saint" ("Fly Away" by Lenny Kravitz) fits the same description. 

Much like his first CD, the original song is the best.  "Too Late Have I Loved You" is done in the style of David Meece or Michael Card, and is inspired by the writings of St. Augustine of Hippo. 

In all, I imagine Nick Alexander's songs would work much better in a live setting to a younger crowd.  I wanted to like these, but just couldn't get past the subject matter ­ I have a difficult time with the concept of taking mediocre secular songs and refitting them into songs about God.  Alexander's original tunes prove he has talent.  The parodies prove he can write songs.  But the combinations here just miss me somehow.

Brian A. Smith  2/24/2002



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