Looking at the state of the world today, it is easy to get depressed and think that it is impossible to fix pollution, hunger, and all the other problems people have to face every day. But negativity doesn’t help either. Force For Good – which today releases their second album “Innocence” – balances realism with optimism and guides us towards a better tomorrow. It is an outstanding and deeply moving album. Turning off the news for an hour and instead listen to “Innocence” will do us all a lot of good.
Building on his award-winning “American Heroes” series, Jonathan Sprout created Force For Good and gathered a team committed to joining his mission to inspire others to action. Members are Emmy Award-winning composer Rodney Whittenberg, multi-instrumentalist Joe Mennonna, Audio Engineer Leslie Chew, marketer Lisa Gage, and producer-writer-director Hillary Black. The album “Passions” was released in February 2020. “Innocence” is being released today, with corresponding films to premiere one each month throughout the year. Force For Good’s motto is “Let’s join in creating a bold, visionary world that is not driven by fear but inspired by hope.”
“Innocence” has a very nice layout. The first few pieces describe the world and nature in all its glory. Then we face the problems head-on before the last piece shows us how to heal and a more sustainable tomorrow.
The album opener is called “Natural”. It is an upbeat and happy tune. I like how it captures the feeling we get when experiencing nature at its very best; that incredible yes! feeling of reaching the mountain top or sailing on a windy day. I found myself putting “Natural” on replay a few times before moving on. It is such a brilliant opener!
“Uplifters” takes the album in a new direction. You have to search long and hard to find a more loving and affectionate melody. To me, it sounds like a tribute to people and forces that uplift the world and make us see positivity and good in everything and everyone. It is about forgiving, accepting, and appreciating uplifters in every form.
Next out is “Reverence”. Its slow build-up makes the listener pay attention. The larger-than-life feel in the intro is replaced by a simplistic melody, indicating the value of even the smallest things. The finale with piano and strings is beautiful beyond words. I believe it is a tribute to kindness and good deeds; “Reverence” is a piece you can both hear and feel in your heart.
Talking about what you can feel; if you are into yoga, “Vinyasa” will be quite a physical listening experience. According to Wikipedia, a vinyasa is a smooth transition between asanas in styles of modern yoga as exercise such as Vinyasa Krama Yoga, Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga, and Bikram Yoga, especially when movement is paired with the breath. “Vinyasa” perhaps also a symbol of the benefits of having a healthy lifestyle.
Nature is, needless to say, an important topic in Force For Good’s music (as heard on “Organic” and “Mountains” on last year’s “Passions”). “Adirondack” is a delightful, eight minutes long neoclassical melody which on the albums serves as a bridge between the positive and the more serious pieces. It is perfect for relaxation and thinking. The strings are magnificent!
It goes without saying that “Hunger” is sad and sorrowful. But the most fascinating aspect is the gentle innocence of the melody. There is no blame or anger here, only despair as bottomless as hunger itself. It is one of the most moving melodies I have heard in years.
Plastic pollution has moved up on the political agenda over the last few years. I’m also thankful that Force For Good dedicate a piece to it since it impacts life all over the world – and under the sea, of course. The larger-than-life melody illustrates the ocean’s vastness and how plastic impacts this habitat in a negative way.
“Homeless” has several different stages; it is like a complete novel with its dramatic intro and various sorrowful segments. It is a reminder that it often takes so little to get a life back on track. A place to live, a more positive mindset, and meaningful work is often all that is needed. I’m happy to report that “Homeless” ends on a high note.
Moving on, “Ocean” is a surprising gift from Force For Good! The piano carefully lays the foundation for what’s to come. Suddenly guitars appear (both acoustic and Spanish), and before we know it, percussion and a flute are included in the mix. It is not to last, though; the piano and guitar complete the narrative. “Ocean” is perhaps the finest piece on “Innocence” with the potential to become a New Age music hit.
“Wind” continues where “Ocean” left off. It is a worthy album closer and a wonderful tribute to how this element is important in tomorrow’s energy production – clean and “free as the wind”.
There are three bonus tracks included as well. From “Passions” we remember “Force”, “For” and “Good”, which were mostly synth-based. On “Innocence”, there are acoustic versions of these fine pieces, which sign off the album with a personal touch.
In conclusion: “Innocence” is the moving and uplifting second album by Force For Good. I’m very impressed by how each piece fits with the overall theme. It is a welcome reminder of how we all – to quote Michael Cretu’s Enigma – could benefit from a “return to innocence” to see problems like hunger or plastic pollution for what it is; a problem with a solution.
Becoming a fan, especially during the current social and political chaos, seems like a great idea. It represents a healthy change of focus. A big thanks to Force for Good for releasing yet another uplifting album, just when we needed it the most.
For more information and music samples, visit forceforgoodmusic.com