In the grand scheme of things, there’s no end to the kind of music that can find an audience today. Even just a short five years ago, things felt far more regimented and pigeonholed into genres and styles, but with the innovations of Spotify and other streaming services, the lines have become blurred into nonexistence. As far as David Raybuck’s debut album The Prodigal goes, it’s a rock album through and through. Fourteen tracks, all functioning at some form of rock music (in genre or subgenre), but the fact that it is simultaneously a Christian rock album would have sent it to a niche radio station or playlist if it were the same as it used to be. People have thankfully become more open-minded with their music intake, though, and can appreciate faith-based records for what they are — and in the case of David Raybuck’s debut The Prodigal, “what they are” is really good and truly impressive.
Even with a job as a pastor and the massive undertaking of being a father to seven, Raybuck has always kept his eyes on his art; The Prodigal comes at a perfect time and uses Raybuck’s wealth of influences (Radiohead, The Beatles, Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins to name a few) to deliver a Christian rock album unlike any other on the market today. The lyrical content is explicitly about God, but fans either religious, agnostic, or atheist will walk away tapping their toes and singing along at the very least — The Prodigal is a fantastic debut full of songs both catchy and heartfelt, and all fourteen tracks feel like pieces of art that have been in the making for quite some time.
Rolling out the album with two singles, “Hosanna” and “Be Healed,” The Prodigal wisely opens the record with the material fans will know. Debut albums can be tricky and need to secure listeners for the long haul quickly, so putting the feet that listeners will recognize first is the best bet. Both singles are indicative of some of Raybuck’s best strengths, with his lyrical work, in general, working as his most promising, but standouts from the album transcend the singles in ways that radio-ready fare can’t appropriately capture. “My Sufferings” sees Raybuck taking the eclectic path less taken, as the rhythmic jolt and driving force feels unlike anything else on The Prodigal. The title track, “The Prodigy,” is another one of the album’s best songs as it chronicles the way Raybuck discovered his faith. It will become a track that both devout Christians and uncertain agnostics can bond over, as it tugs on the heartstrings and remains catchy.
Across fourteen tracks, there aren’t any songs that feel out of place, even with songs that veer harder into country-rock territory (“The Pathway.”) David Raybuck is a Texan man, after all, so a little bit of country flavor and soul is a necessity! The Prodigal is a fantastic rock record that just so happens to be faith-based, and it’ll do wonders for those who believe as well as those who don’t. The release atmosphere for the record has never been more inviting than it is now, with fans enjoying anything and everything, and there’s no doubt The Prodigal will be a massive crossover hit.
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