Father's Day

Father's Day

While working on this album, gospel star Kirk Franklin had a chance introduction to a man who turned out to be his biological father—an emotional journey he chronicles in the 2023 documentary Father’s Day. The album, also called Father’s Day, isn’t so much a literal recounting of that process as it is one about yearning and searching for connection, along with the role that his Christian faith continues to play. Franklin is still a master of wedding-thumping R&B and hip-hop sounds in his compositions, and there’s plenty of that happening here. “All Things” employs a trap-style beat for its pronouncements of omniscience, while “Try Love” glides from crisp, synth-laced funk to a surprising Lisa Stansfield interpolation. For all the emotional heft of its backstory, Father’s Day is almost unfailingly uplifting. “You Still Love Us” picks up the tempo with some staccato piano chords, while “Listen” extols the virtues of stillness and “Needs” beautifully articulates spiritual nourishment. In the two-part suite “Again” and “Again & Again,” Franklin teams up with fellow gospel stars like Chandler Moore, Jekalyn Carr, Tori Kelly, and Maranda Curtis for an explosive vocal showcase that ebbs and flows as it ascends toward the heavens. In the final song, “Somebody’s Son,” Franklin lays bare his doubts and struggles with a raw lyric about trying to find his earthly father, a nuanced take that demonstrates just how slippery faith can be in turbulent times.

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