F U L L . R E V I E W S



Caleb Johnson
Testify

Company: Interscope
Release: 2014
Genre: Hard Rock
Reviewer: Frank Hill
  • More appealing than it is deep



  • The big guy with the big voice and the big win on the show American Idol. Caleb Johnson said he wanted to try and bring back something that has been missing on the American landscape--heavy, bluesy rock n roll.

    "Testify" is AOR-friendly rock and really, every classic rock radio station across the nation could play something from this. Without label support though, they haven't been...but they could because there's no real filler here. Alas, there's no real mega-rockstar killer number either.

    With a leaning toward Southern Rock that's more Shinedown/Black Crows than Skynyrd, "Save Me" just dips it's toes in the swamp. The title track "Testify" may not convert all the masses, but it gets the church feet moving. "Let Me In" is the most complex of the bunch encroaching into modern Aerosmith territory with some backing horns. "As Long As You Love Me", written by The Darkness frontman Justin Hawkins, is angst-less and a load of melodic fun. The big winners here are the formulaic and pleasant ballads, "Only One" and "Change", which put his strong vocal delivery more front and center.

    Created with a strike-while-the-iron is hot mentality, it's a decent establishment record with broad strokes of writing, production, and creativity. "Most of these songs we wrote in half a day, because we were going so quickly", says Johnson. More appealing than it is deep, Caleb's debut isn't going to revitalize the stagnant U.S. classic rock radio market. If he wants to be a superstar with the visceral appeal of the icons he covered on the AI show, he might have to slow down and dig further down in the musical well for his own "Still of the Night", "Welcome to the Jungle", or "Dazed and Confused". If we're in need of a hard rock savior, then he'll need to push back with more weight to smash through our entropy.


    About this Writer:
    Frank Hill // Frank Hill has been at this site since its slimy, crying birth in '03. He was born on National Metal Day--11/11 and will turn his hearing aids up to 11 when he's 111. He secretly listens to a lot of old Country and Doo-Wop tunes and wants to start a cyberband with lead vocals by Robot Plant. He is still trying to figure out what Judas Priest meant by "paratamize you". If you read this, then he salutes you.

    Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details
    5 Excellent - Buy it and say a prayer to the metal gods that you were tuned on to this masterpiece. A classic.
    4-4.5 Great - Almost perfect records but there's probably a clunker or a lacking somewhere to keep it from perfection. You won't feel bad about dropping some bones on these.
    3.5 Good - Most of the record is good, but there may be some filler. This is the OK range where you'd search for the record on sale or used.
    3 Average - Some good songs, some bad ones at about a half/half ratio. Could show skills but be dull overall. Redeeming qualities for indy bands are effort and passion. Majors that don't try or suck outright end up here.
    2-2.5 Fair - Worth a listen, but best obtained by collectors. There is much better metal out there.
    1-1.5 Bad - Major problems with music, lyrics, production, etc.
    0 Terrible or an otherwise waste of your life and time.

    Note: Reviews are graded from 0-5, anything higher or not showing is from our old style. Scores, however, do not reveal the important features. The written review that accompanies the ratings is the best source of information regarding the music on our site. Reviewing is opinionated, not a qualitative science, so scores are personal to the reviewer and could reflect anything from being technically brilliant to gloriously cheesy fun.

    Demos and independent releases get some slack since the bands are often spent broke supporting themselves and trying to improve. Major releases usually have big financial backing, so they may be judged by a heavier hand. All scores can be eventually adjusted up or down by comparison of subsequent releases by the same band. We attempt to keep biases out of reviews and be advocates of the consumer without the undo influence of any band, label, management, promoter, etc.

    The best way to determine how much you may like certain music is to listen to it yourself.



    ALL FULL REVIEWS FOR: CALEB JOHNSON
    CD
    TITLE BAND
    DOR
    REVIEWER DATE
    TestifyCaleb Johnson
    2014
    Frank Hill5/20/2015


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