It is incredibly hard to believe that it has been twelve years since Jaci Velasquez first wowed the unsuspecting masses in 1996 with her debut record A Heavenly Place. That record scored the hit single "On My Knees" and paved the way for a shining career. In the following years, Velasquez had several hit records, numerous chart topping singles, and a slew of Dove Awards before she hit the Latin music scene. Then it seemed that Velasquez was flying under the radar for a few years after her glory days. But the wait is over and now she is back with a stellar new record.
Even as a teenager, Jaci Velasquez was known for her strong pop/adult contemporary sensibilities with a bit of a Latin flair. While Velasquez's latest project, Love Out Loud, sticks to this formula, her music has progressed and her voice has matured. This singer also steps up to the plate as a songwriter more so than on previous albums, assisting with the bulk of the songwriting duties.
The title track serves as the project's first single and is a wonderful choice to send to radio. The delicate pop structure of this song is reminiscent of the earlier work on her self-titled sophomore disc. Each of the songs from Love Out Loud feature excellent musicianship and Velasquez's voice at its best. "Nothing But Sky" and "It's Not You, It's Me" both lend themselves as standout upbeat tracks perfect for both live performance and radio singles. The album shows Velasquez's softer side with the worshipful "Jesus (The Way)" and the gorgeous ballad "My Alleluia." Velasquez also digs back into her Latin roots for the somewhat mischievous "Tango" and the Spanish-sung "Por Escrito."
Love Out Loud touches on several lyrical themes. Many of the album's tunes focus on fresh beginnings and renewed hope ("Nothing But Sky," "Weightless," and "Into the Light"). Resolving conflict and honesty in relationships are represented by the clever metaphorical "Tango." Loving others and reaching out to the world ("Love Out Loud") as well as forgiveness ("It's Not You, It's Me") are also considered throughout Love Out Loud.
It's exciting to see one of Christian music's finest talents finally return to making music. Love Out Loud is, by far, one of Velasquez's best works to date. This new disc is impressive, mature, and beautifully crafted. It seems Jaci Velasquez is back and here to stay.- Review date: 3/15/08, written by Lauren Summerford of Jesusfreakhideout.com
Record Label: A'postrophe Records
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