"The Struggle" - Bill Moss Jr. (Salathiel Records 2008)
“The Struggle” Bill Moss Jr. From the CD Manifested Favor – Live in Detroit Salathiel Records 2008 www.billmossjr.com
You might think that since Bill Moss Jr. and J Moss are from the same musical family – remember the teenage Moss Brothers (AIR 1985)? – they obviously have similar musical styles. That’s not necessarily the case. Whereas J and his production company PAJAM have pushed gospel way out of its comfort zone and into new realms of sonic imagination, Bill tends to favor a more laidback, mainstream contemporary gospel sound, not unlike his father, the late Bill Moss, Sr.
At least that’s what I discern from Bill Jr.’s current single, “The Struggle.” The song has a comfortable melody and arrangement with a hook-heavy chorus that pleases the live audience in his hometown of Detroit.
There’s no question, however, that the full nine minute-plus album track is superior to the radio edit. The edited version, only about half the length, establishes the song’s premise – despite daily struggles, we’re still blessed – but the longer track gives Bill an opportunity to deliver a passionate and extemporaneous exposition on his simple affirmation. He outlines the various struggles that plague today’s society, such as HIV, depression, suicide, finances, and marital strife. Even pastors have their problems, Bill sings, as they can be burdened by crushing debt and divided churches. It is during this sermonette that Bill really hits his stride and sells the song.
A favorite line from the album cut is, “Somebody’s thinking about their unpaid bills/Get down, get dirty and develop your creative skills.” It's a clear call to entrepreneurship and economic self-determination. When big banks and monolithic corporations are crumbling under the weight of greed gone wild and wiping out pensions and life savings, it’s really not a bad idea.