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  Lose This Life 
Artist: Tait 
Label: Forefront 
Length: 12 tracks/53:49 minutes 

As the three former (or is it current?) members of DC Talk continue to pursue their solo careers, each of them has truly demonstrated differing tastes in music.  While Toby Mac does the hip-hop thing and Kevin Max sits in hip cafes, sipping latte, and crafting art pop eclectia, Michael Tait and his band most aptly named Tait showed more of a preference for straight-up pop on their debut album Empty.  Now after a two-year hiatus, Tait, featuring lead vocalist Michael, bassist Lonnie Chapin, drummer Chad Chapin, and new guitarist Justin York, is back with a second foray into the pop world with their album, Lose This Life

Lose This Life is an above-average pop album augmented by the soulful vocals of lead singer Tait and a mostly successful sampling of a variety of musical styles.  One of the strengths of DC Talk was their amazing ability to implement a wide assortment of styles into their repertoire and to do it with originality.  Co-produced by Michael Tait and and long-time DCT collaborator Mark Heimermann, Tait follows this model for Lose This Life.  There is something for everyone on this album, from heavy modern rock to soaring guitar chords to get the Kleenex piano ballads. 

The title track starts the album off with Tait’s energetic vocals fronting U2-inspired strumming guitar chords that probably still are floating somewhere around the stratosphere.  The U2 influence shows up later on in the driving “Child.”   Tait is at his vocal best here as he really gets a chance to belt out the lyrics with a passion and abandon that is quite reminiscent of Seal. 

A decidedly different tack is taken with the rap core infested “Numb” featuring wicked-hot fuzzy guitars blasting Linkin-Parkish riffs and guest MC Rob Beckley of Pillar chiming in on vocals.  The disaffected sound is continued in the bass-heavy opening chords of “Reconnecting.” The guitars scorch in this number and Tait’s vocals suddenly turn rough and gritty.  I give him credit for pulling it off with success.  

Of course, there cannot truly be a complete pop album without a few ballads to moisten the eyes and Tait does not disappoint, giving us almost a full B-side from which to chose.  Unfortunately, this is where they belong.  The three songs “Fallen,” “Heartache,” and “Holding Out for Grace” are certainly pretty enough with their pianos playing and the strings fluttering in the background and the big choruses.  However, they fail miserably in the lyric department, imparting us with lugubrious clichés such as “The sun is on the rise; new days coming/You see it in her eyes; she’s runnin” (“Fallen”) and “And I, I’m falling on my face, I’m holding out for grace.”   Tait, who wrote or co-wrote most of the songs, is capable of better stuff than this tripe. 

This negative aside, there is much to admire about Lose This Life. One of the most enjoyable tracks is the empathic “Free Will” in which Tait declares he has a “free will but I’m gonna use it/And I’ve got to lose it.”  He also adds a decidedly retro feel with his fun cover of Eddy Grant’s “Electric Avenue.”  Also check out the band’s surprising version of “The Christmas Song.”   Nat King Cole is still the man, but Tait’s does this tune total justice.  If this pop thing doesn’t work out, Michael surely has a lounge career in his future. 

Overall, Lose This Life is a good album full of modern rock ranting, a lot of atmospheric, triumphant guitars, and sentimental, teary-eyed dirges.  Both the man—and the band—that is Tait will continue to have a bright future in front of them. 

Noel Lloyd 
12/14/03 

   
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