Eliot Sloan, more commonly known as pop-rock act Blessid Union of Souls, responsible for the 90s hits I Believe, Let Me Be The One, and Hey Leonardo (She Likes Me for Me), has released his first Contemporary Christian CD, The Mission Field. Blessid Union of Souls’ songs have always been a little ahead of pop radio’s sensibilities, and as The Only Song, the first single off The Mission Field, finds itself rising steadily up the Christian AC chart, we may very well find Blessid Union of Souls atop another chart in 2011, although methinks the independently produced single will have a difficult time reaching the peak given the competition it’s facing. (Sony/Provident is marketing the single, so that’s a plus.)
Sloan’s lifelong lifelong Christian faith has never been in question, and his belief have found itself consistently in his songwriting. “I’ve always sung about wanting to live right,” he says in an interview here, “and with The Mission Field, it’s just a matter of taking things one step further and doing in my heart what I’m called to do. The songs we wrote for our first album Home were particularly strong in that direction, and though there was more of a light-hearted direction in some of the later tracks, the underlying spiritual tone was always there. I wanted to make an album that was closer to our first record musically and lyrically, which really gives The Mission Field a full circle feeling.”
Admittedly, Sloan’s vocals are not the strongest on the radio, and while The Only Song does deserve kudos for trying to tread musical ground that hasn’t been tread awhile in Christian radio, its production value – especially the first few seconds of the song – doesn’t quite appeal to me. (Not a fan of the particular opening drum loop he chose, and the keyboard sound until 0:30 sounds too sparse for my taste.) The song improves over several listenings, and the fact that it is getting added to Christian radio playlists means that Blessid Union of Souls is getting accepted in another genre. It is a light toe-tapper, and I think people will enjoy it – over time.
“A lot of fans have said this is the perfect transition and I also hope to inspire new listeners as well, but I don’t really think about marketplaces or numbers when I’m writing,” confides Sloan. “I always just want to make them sound as good as possible while singing something of substance, which on this record says ‘let’s strap in and really make a daily, conscious effort to follow in Christ’s footsteps.”
You can listen to The Only Song here. There’s a sampler in that link as well that gives you short samples of the other songs, which are a lot stronger than The Only Song.