another solid CCM set

The Ride (Benson)


By Robert Gruber

This latest release from contemporary Christian music (CCM) faves 4Him finds them in no danger of losing their "group of the year" status at next year's Dove Awards. From end to end, The Ride is a stellar set brimming with bright chords and radio-friendly hooks, enough to keep it at the top of the charts for quite some time.

Veteran boardsmen Michael Omartian and Peter Wolf provide The Ride with exceptionally slick production. The opening cut, "Wings," jump-starts The Ride with a soulful spark, the chorus ("What's over my head / Will soon be under my feet") cleverly drawn from Ephesians 6:12. A good cruising song, as is "Nature of Love."

Other stand-outs include the Motown-ish "Shelter In The Rain," "Real Thing," "Ride of Life," and "What Do I Know," a strong message of pressing on in the knowledge of God, sung over a sweeping, superb rhythm track. "For Future Generations" is a genuine moment, one of those arm-waving "keep-the-faith" anthems with a powerful sing-a-long chorus ("I must be a light for future generations") that sounds as if it were inspired by the PromiseKeepers.

4Him are in fine vocal form throughout and this new album has an upbeat feeling overall, unencumbered for the most part by the syrupy, keyboard-heavy ballads that mar so many contemporary Christian projects. Much of this album is driven by punchy horns and smooth rhythms abound. Fans of 4Him will love The Ride, but I'm sure it would also play well with fans of Toto, Chicago and Richard Marx, if given a chance.