Anthony Brown & group therAPy had some big shoes to fill with their new album, A Long Way From Sunday. Their sophomore release, Everyday Jesus, catapulted them to major success. They picked up many gospel awards along the way. However, they prove they can’t be counted out, after just a few minutes of listening to A Long Way From Sunday. I love a good concept album. There is a common theme here that introduces many of the songs. Anthony Brown states, “What I feel” and then follows it with, “What I know”.
A Long Way From Sunday starts off with a high energy celebration with the uptempo praise songs, “Glad” and “Na Na Ok (The Happy Song)”. His full, scratchy tenor pairs well with the slick production and group therAPy’s vocals. Anthony Brown’s relatable lyrics permeate through the speakers and inspire the listener. “I Got That” is a perfect example. Trap music influences slip in here, but in a tasteful way. This is one of several songs I had on repeat when I first heard the CD. The lyrics are triumphant and uplifting (“I got that V-I-C-T-O-R-Y/I got no reason to fear/I got Jesus on my side”). This is sure to be a fan favorite, especially with the younger generation.
Don’t mistake it. Despite the thumping bass knock of some of the uptempo songs, there are some rousing ballads here. The album’s first single, “Trust In You”, delicately commands us to stop worrying and turn our troubles over to God. “Everytime” featuring Jonathan McReynolds and Travis Greene is a tender, acoustic ballad that reminds us of how dependable God is. However, “I Refuse” is the album’s showstopper. The production, lyrics, vocal arrangements. Everything about this song screams hit single potential. The song speaks of boldly not allowing our circumstances to strip our faith from us.
“Miracle Worker” is also one of the album’s several standout gems. The mid-tempo, R&B tinged track challenges us to remember that God can and will make miracles in our lives. It’s never too late. “It Had To Be You” and “Thank You” are smooth worship songs that compliment A Long Way From Sunday very nicely. “Why?” finely showcases group therAPy’s amazing vocals. My only complaint about this one is I hope there’s a full, extended version that gets released someday. Nonetheless, the interlude serves a great purpose for ushering in the lyrically dense and infectiously melodic “Want You More”. I can only imagine how this song would sound live.
Le’Andria Johnson lends her stirring vocals on the gratuitous ballad, “Consumed”. The album ends on an upbeat note with the reassuring, pop influenced “Never Alone”. Just when you thought Anthony Brown and group therAPy couldn’t top themselves, they have done just that. A Long Way From Sunday empathizes with the daily struggles we all encounter along our faith walk. There are times we party, times we cry, times we reflect and times we just simply want to give thanks. Sunday doesn’t seem so far away after all.