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Ambient/New Age - Released April 26, 2019 | BMG Rights Management (US) LLC

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Comedy/Other - Released April 23, 2019 | BMG Rights Management (US) LLC

Nearly a half-decade removed from American Idol, Danny Gokey -- the second runner-up from season eight -- has abandoned the pop mainstream and focuses on Christian music for his sophomore set, 2014's Hope in Front of Me. Gokey doesn't devote the entirety of Hope in Front of Me to inspirational music -- he attempts to cop a bit of Daft Punk's "Get Lucky" swagger on the ebullient "Better Than Gold," a deliberate evocation of Off the Wall-era disco that grabs attention because it, along with the Yacht Rocking "Take It to the Limit," sound nothing like the rest of the Hope -- but the majority of the record is dedicated to messages of love, faith, and hope. Sometimes, he gets a bit mawkish -- "One Life," where accidental deaths are used as an example of living just for today -- and the arrangements could never be mistaken for subtle, as all the vocals on synthesizers are pushed right into the red, egged along by circular arpeggios that never let up. This glassy, immaculate, professional pop suits the CCM MOR mainstream, but Gokey fairs the best when Hope in Front of Me steers away from the pack and into a bit of early-'80s disco-kitsch; the touch is lighter, the hooks are sharper, and the feel is bright and open, not clean and claustrophobic. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Ambient/New Age - Released October 26, 2018 | BMG Rights Management (US) LLC

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Ambient/New Age - Released September 28, 2018 | BMG Rights Management (US) LLC

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Comedy/Other - Released February 1, 2019 | BMG Rights Management (US) LLC

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Christmas Music - Released February 1, 2019 | BMG Rights Management (US) LLC

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Comedy/Other - Released January 19, 2018 | BMG Rights Management (US) LLC

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Comedy/Other - Released January 19, 2018 | BMG Rights Management (US) LLC

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Ambient/New Age - Released November 10, 2017 | BMG Rights Management (US) LLC

Ambient/New Age - Released November 3, 2017 | BMG Rights Management (US) LLC

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Ambient/New Age - Released November 3, 2017 | BMG Rights Management (US) LLC

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Ambient/New Age - Released November 20, 2017 | BMG Rights Management (US) LLC

American Christmas is the third holiday album from Alabama, following Alabama Christmas, Vol. 2 by 21 years. That 1996 record appeared 11 years after 1985's Alabama Christmas, so long waits between seasonal affairs are expected with Alabama, but the Alabama of 2017 have gone through a lot of changes, winding up as a trio of Randy Owen, Jeff Cook, and Teddy Gentry. This trio lineup gives American Christmas an intimacy. Although there are a couple of sprightly moments -- including the original opener "Ain't Santa Cool" and "Jingle Bells" -- this is generally a laid-back affair, the kind of record where "(I Wanna) Rock n Roll Guitar" generates no noise whatsoever. That's a reflection of how Alabama are a bit older now, but mellowness is the endearing thing about American Christmas: it's a cozy record, made for fans who have stuck with the group through the years. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine