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Bebo Norman's "Lights of Distant Cities": Music Review

On his last release, Lights of Distant Cities, Bebo Norman takes the basic concept of honest, heartfelt lyrics and wraps them around atmospheric musical arrangements.

Think muted tones and softened outlines. This is not to say Norman has lost some of his rootsy appeal. His folksy flair still exists in abundance. It is just that the added textures are a welcome addition. The results take this album to an entirely new level of artistic brilliance.

With a hint of Coldplay, the opening track, “At the End of Me”, sets the tone for the entire album with swirling keyboards juxtaposed against Norman’s raspy declaration that we are broken people saved only by God’s grace. No song illustrates this thought of God’s grace saving us more so than the poignant “Collide”. In it, Norman demonstrates a vulnerability so commonly found on earlier album releases “Myself When I Am Real” and “Between the Dreaming and the Coming True”.

Perhaps the best track on the album is the mid-tempo “Outside the Window was Her World”. So different than what people are used to hearing from Norman, this track is a wonderful blend of storyteller-themed lyrics and the musical flavoring of progressive rock guitars infused with eighties-era synthesizers. 

Not afraid of testing his tried and true folksy formula, this album is a gem that needs to be appreciated for its honest, worshipful charm.

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