Friday, December 6th, 2019

Kirk Franklin – Love Theory

But does praxis make perfect?


Thomas Inskeep: This piano-based gospel jam about God’s unconditional love hit me hard from the first listen and just gets better. Franklin serves a Puffy/Khaled-esque role here, chiming in with ad-libs while his choir does the heavy lifting, and it works a charm. The chorus of “I don’t wanna love nobody but you” drills down, especially as my personal faith has deepened over the past year. And Franklin leads the proceedings like a God-centered James Brown — not quite as funky as the Godfather, but not as far off as you might think, either. One of the year’s greatest singles, pure love and joy on record.

Jacob Sujin Kuppermann: Lushly appointed and generous in its orchestration, the kind of worship music that focuses on the glory of it all. I’m indifferent to the theology — my own faith does not tend towards excess in its liturgy — but I can appreciate the work of bending the sound of Frankie Beverly and Maze so expertly into recognizing a deity worthy of love.

Iain Mew: All of the showy embellishments, the breaking down and building up, bring the feeling of constructing something impressive for persuasion too far to the front for me to really enjoy. It might also be that the rolling piano bit it starts off with is so rich and lovely that I would rather just be listening to that the whole time, though.

Nortey Dowuona: A plush, warm organ slides over loping, fuzzy bass riding a smooth four-on-the-floor drum kit lifted by the fantastic croons of the choir, while dribbling synth programming swells, bursts and then hermetically shrinks inside a silky synth and heavy bass drum progression. The synths spread wide for a slinking bass guitar to shimmy in and throw the whole song into the atmosphere, which it then slowly falls from, landing on a small leaf.

Wayne Weizhen Zhang: A joyous, soulful embrace of “greater love,” made more charming by the decision to title this piece of worship music love “theory” — a word that simultaneously describes something that can’t be definitively proved, but should still be taken as fact anyways. 

Alex Clifton: Music that celebrates religion should, well, make you feel celebratory — that’s the issue I’ve long had with a lot of Christian rock, mostly because those artists never come across as feeling any kind of actual joy in their music. It can feel put-on at times, even when the sentiment is earnest. You can’t fake enthusiasm with a gospel choir, though. Listening to Kirk Franklin and his choir, even though this isn’t really my thing, puts a smile on my face and makes me want to dance. Much as I have my own thoughts on God, getting to the line “he won’t fail/that’s not what superheroes do” delivered with such gusto makes me want to believe in that moment, and that’s a miracle enough.

Joshua Minsoo Kim: The verve here is sterile, but the choir does a lot to make things charming and spirited enough to prevent disgust. God-as-superhero, though, is an unsophisticated and incomplete comparison. The middle eight’s invocation of Matthew 10:39 — this notion of one’s “death,” the restructuring of life’s self-centering to God- and other-centering — isn’t a pursuit that’s inspired en masse by Marvel characters. Let God be God for Christ’s sake.

Kylo Nocom: Nothing is quite like remembering that love’s at the center of it all at the end of the day, even if the heavy lifting is done by the boogie synths.

Reader average: [8] (1 vote)

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One Response to “Kirk Franklin – Love Theory”

  1. wow surprised at the positive reaction lmao, one of my guilty pleasure of this year (because of the gospel and preachy nature)

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