Energy and Spirit come together on Beckah Shae’s ninth album, Champion. Spurred on by a successful Kickstarter campaign, the Christian singer/songwriter kicks things up a notch with tracks that blend cutting-edge electronica with funky accents and a sure grasp of pop hooks. Shae anchors her lyrics in the redemptive power of faith as she emphasizes life’s second chances and hard-won triumphs. She and producer/husband Jack Shocklee get a boost from cowriters like Crystal Nicole (Beyoncé, Rihanna) and Eric Dawkins (Janet Jackson, Christina Aguilera), giving the album the feel of a worship service wrapped in a party jam. Tracks like “Turbo Style,” “Heartbeat,” and the title tune deliver the Word with dancefloor heat. A strain of heroism runs through the album, heard most passionately in the defiant “Me and My God” (featuring Eric Dawkins) and the dramatic “Jericho” (a duet with Israel Houghton). Champion’s ballads—most notably “Legacy” (guest starring Crystal Lewis) and “Vision” (a techno-style rewrite of the hymn “Be Thou My Vision”)—turn down the beats without diminishing the inspirational content.

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