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Testify

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Album Review

Hot off the momentum from his 2014 American Idol crown, North Carolina rocker Caleb Johnson takes a victory lap with his debut album, Testify. While it's hard for the public to know how much control a new Idol winner actually has over his/her first proper release, the album does seem to line up with Johnson's pre-Idol roots as the metal-loving lead singer of Asheville hard rockers Elijah Hooker, who released their own debut just prior to Johnson's emergence on the show. Knocked out in a furious three weeks with producer Howard Benson, who is responsible for mainstream acts as disparate as My Chemical Romance and Rascal Flatts, Testify dials up the rock theatrics for a riffy, vaguely Southern-leaning romp that is surprisingly fun and entertaining. Front-loaded with two of the heaviest (and best) cuts, "Sailing Away" and "Save Me," the album also dishes out a handful of ballads and bluesy numbers but is at its best when Johnson lends his formidable chops to the type of over the top stadium thumpers that connected with fans on Idol. In those moments, he exudes a refreshing freewheeling charm that harks back to the '70s heyday of Meat Loaf and Kiss, seeming to take himself less seriously than so many other Idol alums vying for pop relevance. Or maybe it's that he takes his rock very seriously, attacking classic rock tropes with a hearty Jack Black-esque zeal that is ultimately charming. Pegging Darkness frontman Justin Hawkins to pen the lead single "As Long as You Love Me" was a stroke of genius, aligning Johnson squarely with the school of rock where his strengths lie. Testify is by no means a great album, but that powerful voice and magnetic personality that won over so many fans are absolutely present as Johnson delivers a solid first effort.

Customer Reviews

Overproduction has Killed Rock and Roll

This song is the epitome of the downfall of great rock and roll, overproduction. Don't get me wrong, it's not a bad song by any means, but it's forgettable and it's overproduced. Great rock was all about feeling the music and as rock got more and more popular and the music industry got its hands on more and more of up and coming rock bands the genre has slowly dissolved into what it is today.

Get rid of the auto tune, get rid of the synthesizers, quit trying to make every song have catchy lyrics for the radio. Put a bunch of great musicians in a room together and let them jam out and bring back rock and roll as we knew it. There is a reason someone born in 1995 or 1945 can listen to Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones, The Doors, The Beatles or any number of great bands from that era and still come out saying that was a great song. And it doesn't matter what genre of music you listen to primarily, be it rap or pop or country. You can't say the same about modern rock and roll and it's a shame.

Great Track!

Sounds like Sammy Hagar.. His voice kills! Glad he won Idol.

So so

Caleb is an amazing talent. He is a great singer and performer. However, this song does not fit the harder edged tunes he sang on the show. I am sure the producers were trying to placate the teenage girls, but whoever chose this song did Caleb a disservice. I hope future songs have a little more rock and roll and less cheesy pop.

Testify, Caleb Johnson
View In iTunes

Customer Ratings