Not so long ago, we looked at DeGarmo & Key’s 1986 Streetlight. Today, we’ll be taking a gander at their previous effort, Commander Sozo and the Charge of the Light Brigade.
The album opens with the catchy and energetic “Activate” and then onto a series of light, mid-tempo, synth-laden songs full of bright, cheery, catchy hooks. The album overall seems to have the themes of living a deeper and more victorious Christian life with the joyful anticipation of Christ’s return (hence the album’s title).
Starting with “Activate,” the album’s theme of challenging the sleepy-Christian’s tendency toward apathy begins and continues throughout Side 1 with the songs “Temporary Things” and “Apathy Alert.”
Nearly 35 years after its release, perhaps the band’s most time-honored songs come from the second half of this album. Side 2 begins with the triumphant, “Destined to Win” featuring Jesse Dixon, and closes with another jolt to the sleepy Christian life with the passionate and prayerful, “Casual Christian.” Mixed in between the two are three joyful songs anticipating the day in which we will no longer be bound to this earth, but set free by the coming of Christ.
After hearing this album again recently, it feels as if D&K had wanted to let loose a little bit more than they had. It could just be me, or it’s probable that many of the songs were slowed down and lightened up a little on the behest of the record company. Either way, that, plus the album’s rather lengthy and awkward title, and the outdated drums and synths does make the album dated, but it can all be overlooked in the grand scheme of things. This album is among the band’s best, a highlight album for the year, and certainly deserves its place among the litany of great Contemporary Christian Music albums of all time.