J.J. Hairston & Youthful Praise (Light Records)
For 12 years, Stellar Award-nominated contemporary gospel group J.J. Hairston & Youthful Praise has delivered albums of inspirational praise and top radio hits such as "Incredible God, Incredible Praise," "Resting On His Promise" and "After This."
I See Victory, the group's seventh release, once again spotlights its high energy and heart-affecting worship.
Recorded live, I See Victory moves like a camp-meeting style church service, kicking off with the electrifying worship of "Nothing Compares" and funky gospel of "You're Mighty" before moving into more melodic praise such as "Bless Me" and the triumphant declaration of "You Are Worthy." A more traditional, toe-tapping gospel style is employed in the upbeat "The Blood Still Works." The songs are well delivered by the group and are written to encourage and declare the goodness of God.
When confronting trials, "It Pushed Me" puts a positive spin by proclaiming how the valley has "made me stronger and taught me to trust Him." Of the song, Hairston says, "We're pushed by negative situations, whether it's a death in the family or something else. Our negative situations force us to make decisions that become positive in the end, and this song talks about those things that pushed us to become who we are now."
The album closes with "Everything I Need," which begins softly and builds into a powerful testament to God's provision. During the song's reprise, faith is stirred as the singer testifies of God's healing power—"You are a healer!"—and asks listeners to declare His faithfulness in their own lives.
While I See Victory acknowledges the challenges believers face, it's evident through the songs that the focus should be on the victory at the end of the spiritual battle. Through the songs and spoken encouragement, Jesus is lifted up and proclaimed to be true, kind, all-sufficient and all-powerful. The release should be a welcome listen for those who need their faith energized. —DeWayne Hamby