Music Review: #NotPlayingTheGame by Daughters Of Davis

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January 06, 2018
Music Review: #NotPlayingTheGame by Daughters Of Davis
The #NotPlayingTheGame campaign in a nutshell - 1 min Video
Money - Daughters of Davis [Official Video]

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Album Details

Track Listing

Be the Change
In Your Arms
War Time Stories
Food on the Table
Not Playing the Game
Who's Your Idol
Pay Off
Close Your Eyes

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Daughters of Davis write songs with messages for this generation and those that reflect their own innate struggles too, born from their faith and experience living in this money driven society. The girls aim to expose the lies and the negative ideas that are promoted through media and society and have set up a campaign to make a stand against it called #NotPlayingTheGame. 

It looks at whole spectrum of life and where we are fed damaging lies, zooming in on how we are continually broken down, often just to sell to us. Their latest album also called #NotPlayingTheGame and it is a concept album which reflects these same themes, reclaiming self-worth and declaring boldly that the onslaught of negative pressure we are faced with is just game you don’t have to play. It looks at Money, Age, Beauty, Identity, Time & Following Your Dreams so make sure you check it out or hear about it at one of their live shows, you won't be same again once you've heard about it.

Editor review

1 reviews

#NotPlayingTheGame by Daughters of Davis
Overall rating 
Personal Rating 
It's taken me such a long time to get around to reviewing this album that I am almost ashamed, however at the same time things conspired against getting the album in the first place, and then getting the review written. So, this album was released in December 2016 and here I am now in January 2018 finally putting things into words, and as I write this I realise that Adrienne and Fern are already planning their next album.

For Daughters of Davis this album is as much about the mission as the music. #Notplayingthegame is all about saying that you're not going to join in with the materialistic society that discards people for not being the right height, weight, colour hair, age and puts pressure on people to look and come across a certain way. So this album sets out their mission and explores some of the ideas in the songs, this is also to compliment workshops that the girls are taking out on the road to Christian conferences, schools and other places about what this whole things mean. These girls are passionate about this message, and that comes across in every funky, soul-filled number on this album.

The message is forthright from the beginning as the phenomenal and distinctive vocals blend brilliantly to encourage the listener to "Be The Change". Asking us to look at who we buy from, and what companies we support, and think about the people working to create the things that we buy. If we want to see a change in their conditions then we have to "Be The Change" and shop with our moral conscience more than just thinking about our wallets. "Bluescreen" questions who we are, and the differences between that and what we present to people outside. There is a lot to this track that it is hard to do justice in a few words.

"Money" is a short track that looks at the nature of money and how it affects us and what it really means, and how love is more important than money. It's got some lovely jazz influences and saxophone in the background as this song shimmies along. After that rather packed things cut back to a more acoustic feel for "Sci-Fi" which looks at what would really be important if everything were to change in our society through some feature film type event. The conclusion is that life is more than buildings and stuff. "In Your Arms" is a love song with a difference. This is about someone who knows their flaws because they have been told about them by the way the world reflects things, but yet they find confidence in the way that they are loved by someone. When loved and held by this person they are seen as good enough and builds the self esteem.

This album isn't just about beauty and maintaining the worlds image of that, it's also about ageism, and the way as a society we treat the older generations. "War Time Stories" is a rather poignant look at this as they relate about their Grandma. Old and frail, yet she still feels 17 inside, realising that people no longer look at her like they did when she was young. The song is about realising the wisdom and experiences of that generation are going to die with them, unless we listen and treasure them. We are so busy rushing around with our lives, there is no time to listen and learn, but also realise that time is marching on for us too.

"Food On The Table" switches this around again. It tells the story of a couple of lives, and they are stories that really prick the heart. Initially, lyrically but not musically, it reminds me of the classic song from Cat Stevens, "Cat's In The Cradle". We are told a story of a child waiting all day for his Dad to come home in the hope that he will play with him, but when he returns he's too tired, he's done everything he can to put "Food on the Table". The second verse tells the story of a mother trying to get home for her daughter as they had plans, but she's late and her daughter just wants to spend the evening on social media on her phone. It lays out a burdened heart that something might have happened and the promise of playing tomorrow, or spending time with each other just never happened and now it is too late. If this heart-string plucking track doesn't make you think about your work/life balance and priorities then nothing will!

It's no surprise that "Not Playing The Game" is about the campaign's main focus of not looking like the Media thinks we should, or trying to compete with photoshopped images of perfection. It's a surprisingly short track, but it makes it's point, saying that "I'm born this way", while I might like to look like that image, I don't, its not me and I'm not going to try and match that because someone else says I should! With young ladies in mind they move from this track to another challenge for the younger generation, the role model of the glamour model. It takes on board the 'sexy' photo's that young teens take in bikini's, underwear etc and sharing it on social media. Then they speak to the guys by asking us men to be gentlemen, to move away from this idea of seeing women as objects for sexual gratification. It finishes with a message for the guys "Gentlemen please, make a stand", and the girls "Women, you're beautiful with your clothes on and your make up off". It's powerful stuff in "Role Model".

"Pay Off" is about following your dreams and it sounds like there is a bit of an autobiographic part of this track. If you know Daughters of Davis then you will know that they gave up their jobs and got in a van and started touring and busking to start their dream. They have followed their dreams, and they are still working hard on their dream and their mission. The album finishes off with "Close Your Eyes" which is about those hard moments when you feel like you can't carry on, you can't take another day, but there is a promise that "I'll be by your side". This is the first song that alludes to something more than this world and this life.

This album is very focused on the mission and it's clear that this is motivated out of the best intentions, it's not so clear that it is motivated through their faith. Having said that I don't think this album needs them to be dropping Jesus into every song, possibly something more of the journey of faith could be mentioned,. It's worth remembering that often young people who have and share their faith can be excluded because it doesn't fit with the norm. So a track addressing this, in that context, could also be helpful and maybe something to write into for the new album if the message is going to be similar. This is a message about society in these tracks, but when you see these girls live they are not shy about talking about their faith!

Musically I love the sound that Daughters of Davis bring. It's got elements of jazz, folk, funk, soul and pop and this gives them a huge variety to play with for each different track. The distinctive vocals work exceptionally well, sometimes used to blend together and at other times used to counterpoint. If you are looking for something a little different and with a heartfelt challenge to your social conscience then "#NotPlayingTheGame" is definitely an album that you should pick up!

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