With Be The Change, the new album from singer-songwriter Jarrod Lawson, the artist traverses flawlessly from smooth jazz to hypnotic soul all the while delivering some of the best “message” music of the past year. This is an album that will arm you musically, lyrically, and intellectually for the spiritual and psychological fights ahead of us in 2021.
It is a testament to Lawson’s prodigious songwriting and musical talent that he is able to do this in a way that entertains and enlightens without sounding preachy or insincere. Like all great soul singers, Lawson makes you believe the words that he is singing, whether he is singing about personal relationships or the human condition in general.
Starting with the opening and titular track which is a direct reference to the truism inspired by Mahatma Ghandi that you have to be the change you want to see in the world, to the silky and sensual “I’ll Be Your Radio” ( featuring a dazzling collaboration with the alternative trio Moonchild) to the anthemic “Battlefield “ to the thought-provoking “Embrace What We Are,” and to the closing number “How Long,” where the singer challenges the listener to take up the cause of social justice, Lawson’s musical creations and passionate vocals take hold of you as a listener and refuse to let you go.
While the current pandemic has assuredly heightened our anxieties towards each other, it has also heightened our awareness of our need for and dependence upon each other.
With Be The Change Lawson is telling us all that it’s all going to be alright if we just remember our commonalities and common humanity. That message right now is not only timely, but it is also worth its weight in gold.
Be The Change (Dome Records UK) by Jarrod Lawson was self-produced by Lawson and is available on his website .