What We Want, What We Get
Dave Barnes is best known in the Christian market, where his songs have been covered by the likes of Bethany Dillon and Bebo Norman, but his fourth album takes most of its cues from Top 40 pop. What We Want, What We Get is thoroughly — almost meticulously — tuneful, filled with the sort of poppy singer/songwriter fare popularized by artists like Gavin DeGraw and Jason Mraz. Some Southern soul runs beneath the music, too, a reminder of Barnes’ Mississippi roots. It’s difficult to find fault with anything here — Barnes rarely shows off, sticking to a mix of affable ballads and walking-speed rockers that are intended to soothe rather than ruffle any feathers — and the few chances he does take all pay off, from the '70s-styled soft rock of “Someone’s Somebody” (delivered with the same retro reverence that Josh Rouse brought to 1972) to “Amen,” the album’s gospel-styled closer. Most of What We Want is focused on straightforward pop/rock tunes, though, and Barnes delivers those numbers with all the ease of the artists he obviously admires.