Music Review: We Belong by GAWVI

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October 17, 2017
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Music Review: We Belong by GAWVI
GAWVI - God Speed ft. Andy Mineo & KB

Basic Details

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Album Details


Track Listing

Rock N Roll
Like We Belong
Show Me
Never Fails
The Sickness
En La Calle
Feel It
Something Bout U
Hold On

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The song delivers new meaning to the popular phrase ‘Godspeed,’ and as GAWVI tells it, “meaning to ‘level up’ and ‘God be with you’.” Packed with pounding drums, synths, and intricately layered instrumentation, the track reaffirms GAWVI as a musical hybrid with the chops to communicate an array of emotions through sound. To excite fans, GAWVI added Andy Mineo and KB to the stadium-sized beat “to ‘level up’ the song even more.” “God Speed” follows the release of “Closer,” the undeniably fun and reverent first single from We Belong, which impacted Hot AC/CHR radio as the ‘most-added’ record this week debuting at #24 on the chart.

Editor review

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We Belong by Gawvi
(Updated: October 18, 2017)
Overall rating 
Personal Rating 

I love it when I come across an artist that I have never heard of before. Admittedly it is less of a risk for me as I have been given the album to listen to and give my opinion about it. When I look at how someone presents themselves, the information they give and the history that you can find before you ever put the headphones on tells you a lot about an artist, but you still never truly know what you are going to get when you press play.

Looking at the information I can find online, it appears that Gawvi has been working his way to this moment for a number of years. He has released his own EPs and then has worked for Reach Records as a producer for many artists, including working with the likes of Lecrae on his album "Anomaly". Finally all that hard work on other people's music, and their vision, has paid off and Gawvi finally has his own platform to bring his talent to the listening audience. So this is his debut album released at the end of March 2017.

Starting out with "Rock N Roll" is an interesting choice, it's certainly not an instant winner as it brings it's electronic influences, but there is a solid chorus / hook. This was the third single released from this album - and it's looking behind the facade and glamour and seeing the emptiness of being a star and the draw that this lifestyle is to so many people, but ultimately it can be empty. It's hard though to dig this out of the lyrics or to see the alternatives that Gawvi is offering here. For me "God Speed" is more representative of the style of this album. It features two of Gawvi's labelmates KB and Andy Mineo and they use some clever lyrics to hint towards Jesus in this collaboration. Musically there is a dubstep feel and it sounds brilliant, I am just not quite sure yet what the point of this album is - is it just entertainment, is it evangelistic, does it have lifestyle and real life points to make?

The core DNA of this album is arrived at in "Like We Belong" with this track being a very inclusive and welcoming track about how we are better off acknowledging differences but realising we can get along together - we just need to be ourselves and have confidence to be us. This whole thing is brilliantly expressed as the track says "Why do we hide ourselves inside our different shells / Live someone else's truth / Sing someone else's tune? / Why are we so obsessed with trying to be perfect? /
When will we understand?"

We are all familiar with lyrics like, "break my heart with the things that break yours" which have been echoed in hymns through the ages as well as Matt Redman and Hillsong United. It is less familiar to hear it on this type of dance / pop album. "Show Me" is a desire to know God deeper and more, for Him to affect us so that we can better love and serve Him. "Never Fails" at first feels like a lovers song, but it soon becomes clear that this is about a deeper love, a love that never fails and discusses the unconditional love that God shows us. As you get into this album you begin to realise that these songs are definitely aimed at a Christian market and it's that lifestyle music to motivate the faithful listener. Some of these tracks are deeply personal, like "Giana" which is written for his daughter and despite a lot of production on the track the love he has overflows from this track.

It is the case that some of the best tracks on this album are ones where Gawvi has focused on the production and handed the mic to someone else. "The Sickness" is a strong song and Jordan Powers delivers it brilliantly. Looking at how trying to appear a particular way, and feeling like you're not worthy can become a sickness - trying to appear a particular way can become a mental health issue, which it does for so many young woman who feel the pressure from our culture to be / act / look a certain way.

Gawvi comes back to his consideration of God's love for us with the next track "Closer" which shows God's pursuit of us. This is a great dance beat that lends itself to that pop-style worship that we have become so familiar with. After the slow start with "Rock N Roll" the quality tracks flood through, one after another. With a selection of different artists bringing this album together. One of the surprises of the second half of this album is "En La Calle" which is a latina-dubstep fusion and despite the lack of English it's still an enjoyable listen even if I haven't got a clue whats being sung about.

From here the tracks seem to be more focused on being upbeat dance numbers that have less depth than those central songs that I have already highlighted. These fit in well, lyrically there isn't much to comment on. "Something 'Bout U" is a great song that is so easy to get into, it's a lot of fun and is another relationship song that starts off sounding like a romantic relationship - before becoming clearer it's something deeper.

The album finishes with one final burst of atmospheric-dance worship in "Hold On". It's a bit of a slow build to be totally honest, and seems to drag on a little but this actually is one of the tracks that I can really see appealing to some people who are looking for something different to the Hillsong diet of Dance / EDM.

This album isn't too quick to categorise itself as to where it wants to place itself, which is probably exactly what Gawvi was going for - artists hate to be pigeonholed. There are some tracks that are worship, some are lifestyle and some are just for-the-fun-of-it dance tunes and that's not a bad thing, this will either take off in each of these markets, or it will fail to find a home in any of them. For me, I quite enjoyed the blends of sounds and styles throughout, although there are some repetitive themes it does look at God's love for us - but perhaps a little more could have been portrayed in the songs themselves. Clearly as a producer and as an artist in his own right Gawvi will be someone to watch, hopefully for years to come!

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