It’s getting harder and harder to believe in anything these days, with all the false reporting and bias (both ways) propagated throughout most of the media. And when times are harder than we’d like them to be, it’s easier sometimes to just throw in the towel and be discouraged along with those around you. But faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. That’s where we find Chris August with his sophomore album, The Upside of Down, released during the month of his name.

As somewhat of a nod to the concept of a cloud’s silver lining, the album reminds us that while life might not always make sense to us, there is a plan, there is a design, there is a loving God orchestrating all things for His glory. August explores the paradoxical beliefs described by the Apostle Paul such as God’s strength in our weakness (“A Little More Jesus”), embracing God’s unwarranted restoration (“Water into Wine”, “Restore”), and recognizing the things of this world are “rubbish” when compared to what is to come (“This Side of Heaven”). Underscoring all these themes is the constant reminder that God is with us and will help us overcome the troubles of this world.

The Upside of Down follows the lead of August’s debut release, building on the mellow, soulful pop sensibilities that landed him in the spotlight last time around. August’s tender vocal draws listeners in close to pay careful attention to the stories behind the songs, to engage listeners beyond that catchy hook and memorable melody (though, the album has those in spades). Though I can’t get past the similarities between “Amen” and Van Morrison’s classic “Crazy Love,” the bulk of the album feels fresh and radio-friendly. In particular, “Unashamed of You” - with a healthy mix of soul, R&B, and disco - stands out as one of the more enjoyable tracks.

Overall, Chris August offers another solid collection of songs that are honest, appealing, and engaging.

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