Jump5 was well known in the Christian and secular markets as an exuberant, joyful group of teenagers with danceable beats laced with positive messages. With numerous television appearances, including the Walt Disney Christmas parade, and having their cover of "Shining Star" featured in the Lizzie McGuire movie, this fivesome, most of them barely old enough to drive, seemed invincible. But then in January 2004, member Libby Hodges decided it was time to call it quits and left the group amicably. Fans (including my 12 year old at-the-time self) held their breaths. Was this the end of Jump5?
Having failed to find a permanent replacement for Libby, they decided to continue on as a foursome, under the same name. Losing a member didn't seem to hinder them from continuing on with their album-a-year tradition. Just nine months later, they released Dreaming in Color.
Sonically, this is the band's most mature album. They embrace a pop/rock sound in favor of the synthesized power pop we've come to know them for. The album opens with the pumping "In My Heart," a vague worship song, which, like most of the band's former hits, could also be considered a love song. Sadly, it is probably the best track on the record. If one thing hasn't changed, it's Jump5's lack of lyrical clarity, with the exception of one track. "Mind Your Head" is a more mellow pop tune, but has a clear spiritual message, which is surprisingly about going after worldly dreams: "Don't realize your own demise/You gotta redefine your state of mind/So take as read/The Word has said you gotta mind you head."
Oddly, the lead single, "Beautiful World," is placed towards the end of the album. Though it has a lighthearted message about seeing the good in an otherwise mediocre day ("Sometimes my sky's a little grey/But I know eventually/I'll be feeling alright again"), it sounds rather like something that belongs on a ZOEgirl album due to Jump5's new, evolved style.
The other tracks are classic Jump5: a dance number ("Dance With Me"), a cover of a classic ("Got the Music"), and a feel good song (the title track). The two love songs, "Just A Dream" and "Feels Like Falling," are quite a departure from, say, "All I Can Do," in that they were cowritten by Brandon and Brittany Hargest, respectively. Though the group is stepping out on a limb by writing their own songs, which is almost unheard of for this genre, they still haven't broken any ground when it comes to meaningful, non-cliched, lyrics. And, as expected, they try to make their less-than-stellar short tracklisting longer by including poorly done remixes; this time, it's of "Dance With Me" and "In My Heart."
Since Jump5 broke up nearly four years ago, this probably isn't worth investing in, but if you are new to the group, pick yourself up a copy. It's pop fluff and ear candy at best, but few artists today exhibit the wholesome image Jump5 maintained throughout their near decade-long run.JFH Reader Review: Review date: 8/30/11, written by Alicia Prescott for Jesusfreakhideout.com
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