Album Review :
Press Play - World Anthem

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Artist: Press Play
TitleWorld Anthem
Label: Dream Records
Release Date: 9/27/2011
Reviewer: Joshua Hedlund


  1. World Anthem
  2. F-I-R-E
  3. Let It Out
  4. Just Like Lightning
  5. Walking On Air
  6. Three Little Words
  7. Raise It Up
  8. Truth Be Told
  9. Change The World
  10. Save My Life
  11. Give It All
  12. Angels Sing

I wasn’t familiar with Press Play before listening to World Anthem, but I was expecting something energetic and electronic from the cover, and the album did not disappoint. This band, originally from Los Angeles, has a lively dance sound that’s sure to make you move as they get the “F-I-R-E” started.

There’s a nice variety to the music, including a couple dubstep breakdowns and not too much autotune, and a few slower jams as well. A lot of fun flavor comes from the interplay between the different lead vocalists. Dave Hanley and Jonathan Thulin mix a bit of hip-hop-influenced free-flow into their singing, while Nicole Croteau shows off her strong vocal chops. I’m tempted to make distant comparisons to the Black Eyed Peas or Rihanna, but maybe that just betrays how unfamiliar I am with this overall genre. There’s definitely a modern pop vibe, though, similar to the direction Newsboys have hinted at recently but also much more solidly in the club scene. World Anthem has a nice mix of electronic and dance layers; sometimes it’s all about the huge ambient synths, while at other times they pull back to reveal the deep pulsing bass elements. As the party winds down, “Save My Life” is a lighter ballad led by strings and percussion (it even features what sounds like a guitar solo), and “Give It All” and “Angels Sing” actually veer into Hillsong territory, revealing the worship roots of the band with their use of piano, driving drums, synth strings, and group vocals.

The lyrics aren’t extremely profound, but there’s nothing wrong with them either. As you can probably tell from the song titles, Press Play offers platitudes about starting revolutions, making changes, and saving the world through love. “Truth Is Told” declares: Gotta make it known to the nation / We’re about to shake the foundation / We are making sure that the truth is told / Gotta shout it out to the planet / There is only one way to have it / We are making sure that the truth is told. “Change The World” says “God is the difference… / Everyone around the world tonight / Gotta show his love and make it right / Gonna change, change the world tonight.” (You get the idea). The more worshipful moments might be the strongest; “Just Like Lightning” declares, “Every time I feel the thunder shake the ground I know I’ll be alright / Every time I see your wonder, you blow my mind / Cuz I am yours / I am yours forever

Overall: Press Play is a modern dance band with a lot of energy and optimism. The production is solid, and the trade-offs among the talented vocalists add a unique flavor. If you took the fun of Family Force 5 and stripped out the gangsta’ cheese and tacked it onto the club-oriented universe of Andy Hunter and mixed it all with the creativity of dc Talk, you might have a notion of what Press Play sounds like. Or maybe not. But if you’re looking for some generally fun and uplifting dance music or some new workout jams, World Anthem is the album for you.

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