Wednesday, August 31, 2011

NEW MUSIC: Cal Ecker - I Will Love You

"I Will Love You" is the first single from Minnesota-native Cal Ecker's self-titled debut EP, which will be available this September 20th. The song is produced by Aaron Johnson, best known for his production work on both albums by The Fray - IWLY certainly would not be out of place on a Fray record, making it hard to know where to draw the line between Johnson's characteristic MOR piano-driven pop-rock stamp and the artist's own identity (whichever it may be). Like the members of The Fray, Ecker also had his musical start in the church, singing Christian music in a number of church bands. For those unfamiliar with the distinct brand of Christian music that is popular with the kind of Christian teens who play in church bands, it basically sounds just like this: unoffensive piano-driven pop-rock with a rocky (not too much - there's no wailing or excessive riffing here) male vocal. For those who are familiar with the likes of Hillsong (the top-selling trend-setters of 'mainstream' Christian music), it's very hard not to perceive the likes of both The Fray and Ecker as watered down, secularized versions of the exact same. Any punch that might be packed in the usual gospel message of salvation/hope/mercy is removed and replaced either with inane lyrics about love or relationships that are unoffensive enough to still be supported by a Christian audience but not overtly Christian as to repulse the secular audience the artist is really wanting to reel in. One is left with a neither-here-nor-there offering with weak lyrics sang over the same-old MOR backing track which seems to be behind a good 80% of Hillsong's output.

Ecker himself is passably good looking and delivers the goods vocally. Aesthetically the video does a good job at showcasing both Ecker and song. In all honesty, Ecker has two choices: either go back to singing straight-up, unashamedly Christian music, or go back to the drawing broad (as far away from Johnson as possible) and deliver something that isn't entirely forgettable/stale/contrived. Something worthy of his talent, which - if you can get past the outside casing of "poor man's Ryan Tedder" and "somewhat good but quite boring" - is actually quite substantial.

The music video was hard to make - just getting the piano down unto the beach was something of an ordeal. Check it out below: 

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