It's been since 2000 that Australian born and raised Rebecca St. James has released a studio record of all new material. Following two recent projects that were devoted entirely to worship, If I Had One Chance To Tell You Something brings the solo artist back to the pop/rock sound that her fans have come to know and love. Blending the production glazings of Transform with the rock edge of God and Pray, If I Had One Chance... is a satisfying project for fans missing Rebecca's traditional pop/rock sound.
Now twenty-eight years old, it's no surprise that there's a noticeable maturity in Rebecca's songwriting and sound. From the opening synths and blazing guitars of "God Help Me," it's clear that Rebecca hasn't softened as she's grown older either. The theme of If I Had One Chance To Tell You Something is straightforward, reassuring the listener of Jesus's love for them. The record also tackles such topics as forgiveness, thankfulness, and friendship, while throwing plenty of worship into the mix as well.
Rebecca never keeps with the same style for any two records, always exploring new directions for her music. If I Had One Chance... is no different as she experiments with a heavier rock sound, mixed with varying amounts of synths, and even dabbles in a more urban sound on "Thank You." The newer direction works on all levels without a standout flaw, and when Rebecca is speaking from her own heart on memorable tracks like "Lest I Forget," "God Help Me," and "I Can Trust You," her music can especially speak volumes. Not every song on the album is penned by Rebecca, however, and this can be evident from time to time, specifically when the worship cover "Take All Of Me" sounds strikingly common in comparison to the rest of the songs. A couple collaborations are also highlights on If I Had One Chance.... BarlowGirl make an appearance on the beautiful, soul-baring ballad "Forgive Me," while TobyMac lends his rapping talents to the beat-driven "Thank You." Finally, the album's debut single "Alive" and the anthem for redemption, "Shadowlands," are just two more of the plentiful solid moments on the album.
If I Had One Chance To Tell You Something is a wonderful addition to Rebecca St. James's impressive career. Pop/rock and RSJ fans alike should find a lot to enjoy about this record, and it's a real treat to hear her return to the type of music-making that caused us to fall in love with her a decade ago.- Review date: 11/19/05, written by John DiBiase
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