Hawk Nelson, Crazy Love
By Lindsay Williams, contributing writer, www.watchgmctv.com
Hawk Nelson’s latest full-length project, Crazy Love, is a curious study in contradiction. The foursome hearkens back to the sounds of its early pop/punk days churning out some of its hardest punk tunes yet. However, the band known for its “good time” feel also turns out some thoughtful ballads showcasing the members’ maturity and current season in life.
Hawk Nelson’s music has matured with each successive album as the members have literally grown up with each release. Some of that development is showcased on Crazy Love with songs that focus on overcoming insecurities, being truthful with ourselves and those around us, surrendering our desires to God and accepting grace that covers shame. Even the title track speaks to a greater depth for the band as the album comes from the ideas presented in Francis Chan’s book of the same name.
Although the more thoughtful cuts which find the band slowing things down to a pop tempo make for the better moments on Crazy Love, the set list is disjointed as the band goes from punk to pop and back again. Songs such as “Skeleton” and “LAX” seem out of place with their hard punk beats that morph crazily into a jumble of screams. The heavier the songs get, the less substantial the lyrics become. If it’s fun you’re looking for, there are plenty of antics to be found, but only a handful of songs truly display more overtly Christian lyrics. Most hold only trite lyrical value and focus more on boy/girl relationships or childish lyrics (see “LAX,” a rant about hating airports) and at times overshadow the sincere, truth-filled music the members are capable of creating.
“My Next Breath” and “We Can Change the World” offer the best relatable lyrics hinting at a greater depth than what Hawk has previously released in its repertoire, with the former discussing our aching necessity for Christ and the latter an ode to social injustices and being the change we want to see in the world. Closer “Thanks for the Beautiful Memories” is a fun autobiographical dedication to fans that chronicles the band’s personal and professional journey in just over three minutes. It’s a shame more songs on the album don’t follow the same pattern of these lyrically sound, melodically solid cuts. However, through the tangled web of pop and punk, there are still a few downloadable songs.