The Nine Beats Collective is a collaboration of musicians, singers, songwriters, poets, and activists who came together in order to create a refreshing look at the Beatitudes, a set of eight blessings recounted by Jesus in the book of Matthew. The album is called Nine Beats to the Bar, and it takes the blessings and incorporates modern issues to form a haunting experience. Coming from all over the world, this is an eclectic and passionate group of people that have created one of the most dynamic religious albums I’ve ever heard of.
The most refreshing part of Nine Beats to the Bar is that it doesn’t feel like you’re sitting down for a sermon. I can’t imagine their vision would work if it sounded like your typical Sunday morning, dressed up with a musical accompaniment behind words their target audience has probably already heard more than enough. The point is to bring in new souls and show that the beatitudes can be used to improve lives and the world as a whole- this feels especially important now, given the social climate.
I can’t decide on a focal point for this album. It is an experience that needs to be heard in its entirety in order to fully appreciate what the Nine Beats Collective has done here. Some tracks feature poetry, some are beautiful instrumental interludes, and some are full songs. Don’t get intimidated by the 26 song tracklist, as only a handful of them are over 2 minutes long.
If I had to choose my favorite track that got to me the most, I would go with “9/8”. It’s a poetry piece that really got to me. It focuses on social issues, most notably racism, and suggests that the road to recovery can be found in the beatitudes. It was the first track that I felt fully drew me into what they’re trying to accomplish. I’m not a very religious person, but I support the love and respect for all people that the Bible is meant to instill in believers, and the collective makes this into a call to action. I truly hope this album gets the recognition it deserves.
Nine Beats to the Bar has such a diverse sound that makes you feel like you’re going on a journey. The overlapping genre that seems most present is R&B, but there is also classical, rock/pop, jazz, and some African influence as well. If you throw all of that together, you have a wholly unique listening experience on its own. Each element is perfectly crafted, each musician and poet has such talent and palpable passion for what they’re contributing that it’s stunning.
This album is a testament to passion, to love, to a brighter future. It doesn’t hold back in the message they’re trying to send, and they certainly manage to give you an experience that won’t be forgotten anytime soon. Nine Beats to the Bar has a power that’s as much frightening as it is enlightening. Regardless of your beliefs, this is something you don’t want to miss out on.