Joseph Madigan – Alignment

 Joseph Madigan – Alignment

Joseph Madigan – Alignment – EP Review

It’s weird.  I’ve always been a heathen beast…yet the religious community at-large has always seemed to trust me to handle their material with respect, far more than anyone seems to trust me to listen to their records in sequential order.  Like…I’ve got instructions on how to listen to Alignment?  What’s that all about?  Are there chefs out there giving you pointers on how to go about eatin’ your food homie?  It’s a good thing I’ve got a healthy dose of OCD…there are hundreds of pages here at our site that’ll confirm I’ve only ever listened to a record one way…yes, from start to finish…because you all work hard on that lineup, don’t ya?  Heck, I used to agonize about whether this song, or that song came first…that stuff is important!  So you got it Joseph Madigan, we’ll go in order here…but ONLY because it’s been requested.

*winky face

Alright…enough of the hard times…which is really what this moment is all about anyhow, ain’t it Joseph?  Word on the street, or at least according to the notes I’ve got scattered across my desk here, is that the man was actually homeless back when he was sixteen, and he’s made the full turnaround in life thanks to help from the religious community & finding a relationship with God.  According to Joseph direct, “I am a Christian artist, and the focus of the EP was to make songs about focusing on God.  I have a project coming out called Alignment, and my goal is to provide music that helps people grow in their faith or be inspired by the message of the songs.”  And so there you go…common ground is found – I might not have a single religious bone in my body, but I’m all about good intentions and helping those around us live the best life they can live.  I was raised with religion as the backbone of my family, and I still carry many of those core values of love & respect around with me today even if I don’t personally choose to practice by attending church & whatnot.  Beyond all that, the music has always fascinated me, 100% – which is why, though it might seem strange to find it on these pages of ours, religious music is always welcome here.  I feel like there’s a whole community out there that really needs something to listen to – there are only a handful of credible artists/bands in the religious circuit as far as I can tell – so believe me when I tell ya, the people out there will appreciate having something as relevant as Alignment is.

Because for real…you’ll push play, hear “No Rivals” come bumpin’ outta your speakers, and you’ll hear just how much Joseph’s whole vibe fits in with what’s out there right now.  Like…to the point where, honestly, I think it’ll be quite the shock to find out he’s a faith-based artist for many people listening.  In my personal opinion, that works to his advantage…folks outside of religion are often wary & somewhat skeptical that they could potentially enjoy a faith-based record long before they’d give it a chance – so to have it kind of sprung on them is probably for the best.  Don’t get me wrong, Madigan certainly ain’t hiding his faith or beliefs…it ain’t like that…it’s more about how rare it is to find an artist like him that is as relevant as he is in comparison to what’s happening out there right now in the ol’ mainstream of music.  This isn’t the stereotypical dude with an acoustic guitar trying to get you to clap your hands & sing along – no…Joseph’s rockin’ with the hybrid vibes of Rap/R&B…you know, the same sound that has taken over the airwaves from coast to coast for the past several years.  “No Rivals” comes out with a BIG beat & confident vibes…Joseph’s clearly using his God-given gifts to their maximum potential in his life now, and that’s nothing but awesome.  He’ll give you some of his own history here on this first track, and he’ll give you a lot of the reasons he’s ridin’ with G-O-D these days too…all-in-all, beyond the religious context, I’ll be completely real with ya – “No Rivals” just sounds freakin’ spectacular to listen to.  The production is stellar, the hooks are strong, the backup vocals f& work put in by featured guests like Naraya & GODINA add essential contributions to this first track as well.  Madigan’s got a stellar flow & precision to his rhythm…and ultimately, he’s got Alignment on-point straight off the drop of track one.

While it’s probably fair to say that “No Rivals” would be that much more accessible on a universal level than the EP’s title-track afterwards…we’re not talking about anything too detrimental, just a different kind of appeal is all.  To me, “Alignment” is a straight-up interesting track to listen to, more so than it’s got that instantly catchy hooks & vibe like “No Rivals” has that’s bound to appeal to every single set of ears listening – make sense?  To be real with ya, I’m 100% in love with the music being used on “Alignment” – I’ve got no issues at all the vocals, they’re fantastic – but it’s the atmosphere & aura of this track that really stole the show for me, and it starts from the very first seconds you’ll hear.  It’s got DEPTH to it y’all…and combined with the way the main hook works…it’s like you can audibly hear how the struggle IS real for Joseph…you get that ever-present spookiness on “Alignment” that seems eerie.  It’s like the sound of potential danger…and you can hear how Madigan has clung to religion & God as his savior to avoid the pitfalls of evil in this world – and it’s EFFECTIVE y’all.  The title track on this EP will cling right to your bones, and you really get an understanding of the battle Joseph has been through in order to save his soul.  Similar story in terms of the high-quality to be found & how the production is on-point & all that…Joseph’s put the work in on this EP, and the results completely speak volumes on their own behalf.  “Alignment” is like the best of stories told to ya…you hang on to every word, every note, every inflection, every tone…it’s gripping, captivating, and undeniably intense – again, these aren’t the words that people typically associate with faith-based music, so you get how much of a leader Joseph could potentially become with songs like this & such a willingness to tell his story in his own unique way.

There’s real flavor and character in this record…and Joseph deserves real credit for that. Not only is he bringing his A-game to every ticking second you’ll hear, but he’s also got remarkable guest-stars all throughout the lineup of Alignment too, which gives each track its own distinct & different vibe from the one before.  After a stellar assist from Authority Sound on his title-track, Madigan switches it up into “Mode” featuring Chiwaz in the hooks, giving this third cut a nearly tribal-esque vibe to it that stretches out around how sensationally catchy the chorus of this song genuinely is.  From the presence of chanting in the background, to the piano notes ringing out in the mix, to the irresistible beat flowing from the lefts to the rights – “Mode” has got a little something for everyone, and delivers in a BIG way.  I still don’t think I’d quite go as far as to say the accessibility factor quite reaches the heights established in the very first track on Alignment…but it’s honestly much tougher to say here – the main chorus hooks are stronger than steel, and there’s a good chance this cut becomes a favorite for many people out there listening based on that alone, never-mind all the incredible details that come along with it from performance to production.  Sometimes all a song really needs is that one aspect that’s gonna draw the people in to listen & keep them coming back – “Mode” is an adventurous cut when it comes right down to it, but the fact that it continually circles back to an undeniably irresistible hook could definitely have this track moving consistently up on playlists until it reaches the top spot – the potential certainly exists.  Usually in the cases of tracks that are described as adventurous or ambitious like this one is, it can end up being a hindrance to the overall accessibility…but the serious strength of this hook could beat the odds.  I have the feeling “Mode” will be a real fan favorite on this latest Joseph Madigan record for sure.

Like I was tellin’ ya from the get-go here, I think the whole religious community will really dig on having a new, viable option for something solid to listen to that sticks to the scripture without compromising, yet also has such relevant sound.  “GIMMIE The GHOST” featuring Yvng 7 is another potential highlight for listeners out there…and to Joseph’s credit, these songs are quite likely to stretch far beyond the faith-based folks…honestly, I think he’s got a much more universal sound to be found here.  Ultimately, that plays to his advantage and overall purpose completely; I don’t think he’s making music to convert the people tuning in, but at the same time, I’m sure he wouldn’t be upset if that were to happen either.  When music is as catchy as something like “GIMMIE The GHOST” is, that’s where it starts…listeners hear the hooks, they connect with the vibe, and they start turning it UP.  From there, they start to realize that the content is based in faith, and have to quickly reconcile with the fact that it’s still real freakin’ good – like…probably a heck of a lot better than they ever would have thought if they’d read about Alignment on paper before they listened, you feel me?  That’s the point where the message has an opportunity to connect and resonate with everyone & anyone having a listen to the material on this EP…Madigan has it all set up right by making sure that everything we hear is up to an extremely high standard in terms of quality from the writing to the performance to the production…and if you’re doing that, no matter what kind of music you’re making, it stands a massive chance of reaching ears of all kinds.  For as devout as the lyricism tends to be on this record, I really think the presentation of it all gives Joseph’s music a major chance of being able to reach out beyond the faith-based community and earn him some true fans outside of it, you dig?  Consider me one of’em!  Ultimately, the style of music on Alignment isn’t even what I’d normally listen to, never-mind the message aspect – but even with both of those things potentially working against him for myself personally, Madigan done nothing but impress with this EP.  When you’ve got real talent, and you find your way to the place you’re truly meant to be in life, it’s like everything fits together perfectly…Joseph was bound to find his way to what he’s doing now as an artist.

Speaking of…”guess it turned out for the best,” right Joseph?  Life ain’t easy whether you find religion or you don’t – it’s just a tough game to feel like you’re gonna win with all the odds stacked against us, no matter who we are, where we live, or what we believe.  That being said…if you’ve got an open mind, if you’re willing to put in the work, and you’re willing to change…trust me when I tell ya, you can achieve some monumental things with the time you’ve got, just like the story of Madigan here on Alignment.  From where it all begins, it’s clear that he needed some guidance and assistance to get to where he is now – and don’t get it twisted, I’m nothing but thankful that he found that.  I don’t think that anyone has to be religious to appreciate the beauty in someone finding the help they needed when they needed it most, you feel me?  Again…in my personal opinion, that’s only a piece of the puzzle though…which is likely where Joseph and I will differ in what we think, and that’s okay – to me, I believe he deserves a massive amount of credit for putting the work into making the changes he needed to make to become the person & artist he is today…and for him, chances are, it’ll be the humble ‘all thanks be to God’ attitude.  Which again, is completely fine by me…no one NEEDS the credit or the accolades in this life, and we quite often get way too wrapped up in seeking that irrelevant stuff out to begin with – but it doesn’t have to spiral so out of control either…sometimes it’s nice to know that someone from the outside can see, hear, and understand the work we’ve put into doing what we do, and what makes us who we are.  “Lately” is probably my favorite track on the record all said & done…it’s got this aware & reflective vibe to it…an appreciation for the struggle and how it relates to the success…and I really dig it.  Chiwaz comes back for a second round to expertly provide the hooks & character into this last track on the EP…it’s another collaboration that really works wonders – he’s got a great sound to complement the one that Joseph’s working with & vice versa.  I really like the contemplative vibes of this last track overall – and I felt like it made for the perfect ending to the Alignment EP that was thought-provoking, real, and a stellar display of the heart, sincerity, and strength that Madigan has put into every moment of this EP.

Good thing I was listening to it in order.

*winky face

For real though – this dude’s got undeniable talent & he’s surrounded by just as much, and he’s ended this experience on the perfect track that’ll have you instantly wanting to repeat the record right away.

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