an favorite of the 11th season of American Idol, Colton Dixon follows his debut with the explosive Anchor. Stepping off the AI stage directly to the Christian music recording studio is not a new thing—Dixon’s predecessors include Mandisa, Jason Castro, Chris Sligh, among others. The one thing that they all have in common is outrageously produced records—by outrageous, read incredibly high quality. Check! Anchor was produced by David Garcia (TobyMac, Mandisa, Newsboys) and Red Decibel (Switchfoot, Kelly Clarkson, Jeremy Camp). The second thing the usually has broader appeal as far as lyrics go … meaning Jesus is not often named, and God is mostly alluded to. While there are times that Anchor does follow the excerpted nomenclature that approach, Dixon is refreshingly straightforward. A savior is mentioned in “Walk on the Waves” and “Anchor,” but his intentions clear with each passing song. He sings, “I want to be an Echo of you” (“Echo”) and “All to You / I surrender / All to You my blessed savior / I surrender all” (“More of You”). But it’s on “Dare to Believe” that he moves out of the surface, slightly universal realms and truly proclaims his faith: “The God of the impossible / God of every miracle / here for the world to see / I dare to believe.”
It’s easy to look cynically at realty-show contestants, but Dixon’s music is affective and unashamed. It’s high quality, radio-ready, power-pop-and-rock that will certainly have a wide effect of good. The main downfall of the album is the dated musical rails that seems necessary for Christian radio. Though the lovely piano ballad “Through All of It” transcends and inspires with beauty and grace.
Sounds Like: Inspirational alt-rock with a bit more fire and heavier guitars at times, Daughtry meets TobMac, ’90s rock (which is today’s Christian radio rock).
Strongest Biblical Content: “Walk on the Waves” (loosely Matthew 14:22-33)
Most Singable: “Echo”
The Whole Package: “More of You”