Things haven't always been easy for Natalie Grant. After changing record companies twice, Grant has finally found a home with Curb Records. And now, with the release of Deeper Life, Grant is sure headed in the right direction with a solid third album.
Albums are always opening with something upbeat these days, and "Deeper Life" opens things off in the right direction. With plenty of signature Grant sounds, the song really reflects what this album is all about: seeking the deeper life in Jesus Christ. "Days Like These", a song that is almost too bubbly bright, comes next with an upbeat, but more organic, sound.
Things take a drastic turn when the Latin-flavored "Love Without Limits" pounds through the speakers, reminding us that God loves without any reserve. Adding in a little brass instrumentation, combined with drum loops and guitar, Natalie Grant uses her vocals to really bring home the message of the song. Another sudden turn comes with the soft pop feel of "Within Me". This tender ballad gets a little help from the London Session Orchestra, providing a great string background.
The radio hit, "I Will Be" is next on the track list, bringing us back to the upbeat pop reminiscent of "Keep On Shining", a radio hit from Grant's previous album, Stronger. With a completely organic sound, "I Will Be" is a major highlight on this record, and a major highlight in Grant's musical career.
As a surprise for Father's day, Natalie Grant recorded "Always Be Your Baby", a sweet song dedicated to her Dad. While the lyrics are touching, the song sounds too much like "Within Me". "That's When I'll Give Up (On Loving You)" follows, another upbeat song much like the opening to the album.
Completely penned by Grant, "Salvation" is almost out of place on this album. With a Gospel/R&B feel, the song is basically Natalie's testimony: "I gotta talk about it, sing about it/ I can't face the world without it/ Sweet salvation/ It's not magical, not mystical/ It's purely supernatural/ Sweet, sweet salvation."
With the writing talents of Cindy Morgan, "I Desire" is another highlight on this album. A big sound, soaring vocals, and marvelous instrumentation sets this song above the others on the album, and reaffirms Natalie Grant's life goal: to serve Christ. The edgier, rocky "Live For Today" is another track written by Grant with a message of living for the day, and following God's leading.
"I Am Not Alone" begins softly, but really opens up later on when Natalie Grant brings out some more of her smashing vocals accompanied by strings and gentle guitar. The final "bonus" track, "No Sign Of It" has to be one of the best on the entire album. The slightly upbeat "No Sign Of It" was featured in the upcoming Gwyneth Paltrow/Mike Myers film A View from the Top. Grant says the song really describes her career in music – the ups and downs and everything in between.
Natalie Grant sure has something going for her. With this newest album, containing some of her strongest work to date, she's really outdone herself. A solid record, a solid message, and a solid musical base, Deeper Life is sure to please fans of Grant's previous work, and it's also sure to bring in new listeners. Trouble has come to Natalie Grant in the past, but now, there's no sign of it, and her skies are definitely clear today.- Review date: 7/16/03, written by Shaun Stevenson
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