In 2002, Jennifer Knapp walked away from a successful music career and disappeared into the Australian outback. After eight years of silence, the small-town Kansas girl with a dry sense of humor is back, and she has a lot to say. Letting Go is both classic Knapp and unlike anything else she has released, an interesting dynamic that is sure to polarize fans. It is also some of her best work to date.
Like a fine wine, Knapp's voice has matured over time and sounds richer and deeper than ever before. She sings each song as if it is her last chance to commune with the world, and the grit in her voice echoes that of Melissa Etheridge and Stevie Nicks. The songs retain her signature folk rock sound, but she pushes herself further this time and drops the grandiose orchestral arrangements she experimented with on The Way I Am. On album highlight, "Inside," Knapp goes electric, putting teeth to her music and covering musical territory that I had always hoped she'd explore. Although it does have its quieter moments, Letting Go is Jennifer Knapp on steroids.
The biggest change for Knapp is her subject matter and lyrical content. Unlike previous material that could have easily been sung during a worship service, the songs on Letting Go are angry and raw, as if Knapp is lashing out at any would-be accusers. Lyrics like "Careful what you say, careful who might hear. Someone else inside the universe could write it down and you'll be hearing it for years" on "Dive In" and "I know they'll bury me before they hear the whole story," on "Inside," are a sharp and biting commentary about being on the receiving end of others' judgment. Other songs like "Want for Nothing," "Fallen," and "On Love" focus on romantic relationships, something Knapp has seldom addressed on previous albums. Traces of Knapp's more overtly Christian past appear at times, but the spirituality of Letting Go lies more in the subtext. What remains the same is the singer's willingness to be open with listeners about her life and personal struggles. She is at times both fierce and fragile but always honest.
Jennifer Knapp has recently been in headlines for something other than her music (recently revealing she's a lesbian), and long time fans will no doubt be divided on the new direction her life and music have taken. This is Knapp's Jagged Little Pill, and it puts her in a position to gain a whole new fan base. Those willing to buy a ticket will find Letting Go a rewarding and challenging ride.- PReview date: 3/20/10, Review date: 5/10/10, written by Laura Nunnery Love of Jesusfreakhideout.com
Record Label: Graylin/RED/Thirty Tigers
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