“Strength (Song of Solomon Chapter 9)” by Standard of Praise
“Whatever comes at me, I know I can take it / With you by my side, ‘cause you give me strength” sings Aprille Watson in the single “Strength (Song of Solomon Chapter 9),” the latest release from her group Standard of Praise. With Watson at the helm of this track’s signature harmony, listeners can rest assured that they’re getting the best of the gospel underground summer in “Strength (Song of Solomon Chapter 9),” and not only because of her gilded lead vocal. Her words are as weighty as bricks, but through her supple delivery, they feel like strands of silk comforting us in an age of rigidness and uncertainty.
The instrumentation in this mix emits a wonderful texture around every turn, but there’s never a moment in which it intrudes upon the place of the vocal. “Strength (Song of Solomon Chapter 9)” doesn’t sport the same level of beefiness that a lot of other R&B/gospel hybrids have in the last couple of years, but the lack of gushing synthetics definitely allows for us to experience the harmonies at their most raw and unfiltered. This isn’t to say that this single is devoid of polish, but merely to point out how little the music actually relies on it.
Lyrically, “Strength (Song of Solomon Chapter 9)” is one of the more emotional tracks I’ve heard in any genre lately. Watson feeds so much of her own soul into the verses she sings that it’s often difficult to tell which words she’s rehearsed and which she’s coming up with on the fly, perhaps in a moment of surreal inspiration. She’s the driving force behind every instance of chills in this single, but without the assistance of her ably-picked cast of co-contributors, I don’t know that it would be the anthemic landmark release that it feels like today.
Though I really love this performance from top to bottom, I can’t help but wonder what kind of response a song like this one could draw from a live audience. Standard of Praise have been burning up the circuit in Texas for a couple of years now, and if this isn’t already an integral part of their live setlist, I think it’s going to be in the wake of the single’s success online. Gospel is a genre that was meant to be heard in front of a crowd, and singles like this remind us of how potent a feeling such a performance can yield in the right setting.
Whether you’re a casual gospel fan or a diehard aficionado, Standard of Praise’s “Strength (Song of Solomon Chapter 9)” is a tough song to beat this June. I’ve been keeping up with the indie side of this genre for a little while now, but I can’t say that I’ve had the pleasure of hearing many bands as cohesive and talented as this group is at the moment. They’re firing on all cylinders in “Strength (Song of Solomon Chapter 9),” and I for one can’t wait to hear what they come up with next.
The music of STANDARD OF PRAISE has been heard all over the world in partnership with the radio plugging services offered by Musik and Film Radio Promotions Division. Learn more https://musikandfilm.com