Kari Jobe's first major self-titled release comes to us in a time when it is difficult to tune into God's voice given all the distractions of the world, and reminds us that God is waiting patiently and heroically for His Bride to return in faith to Him. Kari's debut album is a lot like a CD-length adaptation of Solomon's Song of Songs in Scripture.
"I'm Singing" is the opener for this album, introducing the awesome faith and love that God desires from His Church. It is an anthem for men and women alike, which is fortunate, because many female Christian artists tend to focus majorly on their female audience. That is okay too, but it is refreshing to have another worshipper like Brooke Fraser, for instance, in Christian music. Kari and Brooke, by the way, have very similar voices and singing styles. Kari's voice, however, has a bit less vibrato and sounds more child-like than Brooke's. Another similarity comes in that Kari covers a popular Hillsong ballad called "Healer" in the second track. The song originally gained popularity by Michael Guglielmucci, and was a nice gesture on Kari's part and an honorable redemption for this beautiful song.
After a solid start, the chill acoustics of "Everyone Needs A Little" come to earshot. Next is "Joyfully," a pleasant worship song about being content in God amidst any circumstance. Kari Jobe is simple in her style and lyrics, and while that may turn off some listeners, it works well for her music. The song, for example, says in the chorus, "Joyfully, I lift my voice in praise to thee/ With Heaven watching over me, I raise my hands up high/ Your majesty gently washes over me/ Makes my heart begin to sing joyfully." It's no revelation at first, but its revelation is in the simplicity of the Gospel.
The coming songs "Beautiful," "My Beloved," "Singing Over Me," and "No Sweeter Name" are delicate in the conversational intimacy we all desire with our heavenly Father. If permitted, this collection of songs can do some healthy awakening in our relationship with God.
"Be Still" follows with a melody that's similar to the style of contemporary worship leader Chris Tomlin, but it's not a shock given that Tomlin, as well as producer Ed Cash, helped in the development of this record. All throughout this album, there is a blend of different worship styles that each merge back to a certain uniqueness that Kari Jobe represents. A regrettable thing, though, is that the sum of these songs are at a very slow tempo, leaving you thirsting for something more upbeat and fun, a quality you won't necessarily find in this collection. The album takes a bow with "You Are For Me," an ideal ending and a sheer highlight here. It is a raw cry-out to God, and just might give you the sudden urge to be alone with Him. And that is a very, very good thing.
Kudos to Kari on her first major record produced with Integrity, and don't be too surprised if you hear any of these songs at your church in the coming Sundays.- Review date: 3/11/09, written by Ben Cardenas of Jesusfreakhideout.com
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