Many new artists come out every year with either a full-length record or an appetizing EP. Some make a great impression, others are not easily remembered by year's end. After first appearing on American Idol and being featured on TobyMac's album, This Is Not A Test, Gotee Records' newest artist, Hollyn, is ready to release her introductory self-titled EP. The question is, does it leave a memorable impression, or will it fade from memory as the year progresses?
The EP begins some light strumming and accompanying "Oh, oh, ohs," with the track "Alone." From the onset, Hollyn steps out of the norm with an honest confession of falling away from God: "Fell for You first day that I met You, never dreamed that I ever could forget You, but black and white make a mess when it turns to grey." This is followed by, "You know me so well, I can be a little punk sometimes," before bringing in a hard hitting chorus that begs God to take both heart and soul and not leave her alone. The song also features Toby's son TRU in the bridge with some of the best work we've heard from him yet. This track is followed by a cover of Lecrae's "All I Need Is You." Too often when a popular song is covered by a Christian artist, they mostly remain within the boundaries the original artist has already set. However, instead of simply covering what Lecrae has already given, Hollyn makes the track completely her own. I may even venture to say it's better than the original.
While these opening tracks are solid, they are barely related in sound. This diversity continues with "Hey Mama," a humble call for the gentle guidance of a mother amidst the chaos and hardships of an adult life. Featuring a completely stripped down sound, Hollyn's soulful voice has a lot of room to breathe, and she uses every opportunity to let it show. Taking command of each note whilst conveying honest emotion, her voice can easily hold its own against some of the majors in mainstream. "Nothin' On You" is a jump back into the hip hop sound from "All I Need Is You." Speaking of the lures and idols of this world, Hollyn proclaims, "Oh, I been around and around the world I never found anything better, 'cause they ain't got nothing on You." The EP then dives into another acoustic-led number, "Steady Me." This one is a little more bouncy than "Hey Mama" and features a surprisingly fitting guest verse from rapper Aaron Cole. The EP ends with the worshipful "Mine." Unfortunately, it's quite an underwhelming closer, bearing a chorus that fails to stand out from the overcrowded pop/worship scene. It's a fine song, lyrically, but it fails to leave an impression overall.
The EP as a whole, on the other hand, does what any great introduction does: leaves the listener wanting more, and gives a satisfying taste of what the artist can do. With a creative sound, impressive vocals, and honest lyrics, despite being a little disjointed, Hollyn is a fresh talent I can't wait to hear more from.
- Review date: 11/18/15, written by Lucas Munachen of Jesusfreakhideout.com