Every once in awhile, an artist comes along that never ceases to amaze and never ceases to go above and beyond what may be expected from an artist. Jennifer Knapp continues to grow spiritually and musically as an artist. The Way I Am captures hope, love, and a sense of spiritual hunger in a way that previous efforts from Knapp hadn't quite done. Having often mellower tunes recorded on her albums than performed in her live shows, The Way I Am seems to find a common ground between the two. With the help of the London Symphony Orchestra, Knapp is able to blend her signature pop rock sound with infectious hooks and melodies, holding such a force and passion that has yet to be heard like this on a Jennifer Knapp record.
The Way I Am is a truly honest record for Jennifer. "Opening the album with 'By and By' makes sense," says Knapp, "because it begins the search for grace." "Breathe On Me" continues this search Jennifer has begun, urging the Lord to "Come trickle down and save the world/ Two hands that I can't see/ Come breathe, come breathe/ Come breathe on me..." The string-touched pop/rock title track was written out of a personal experience of Knapp's. "'The Way I Am' is based on the fact that I don't want to be the way that I am, but yet I am human with human vices. I really can't do much about it, but God did." The song confesses, "Blind these eyes who never tried/ to lose temptation/ I'm so scared, where's the hesitation?/ You so easily proved You could save a man/ I am that man." Knapp rejoices in her imperfections because she knows that God has redeemed them. "Say Won't You Say" is a tender plea to the Savior for reassurance of His love. Although a personal song, it's easy to relate to Knapp's urgency for God's love.
Other album highlights on The Way I Am include "Come to Me," which is based on Matthew 11:28, asking us to come to Jesus and rest in Him. "Light of the World" is an excellent ballad, a song that Jennifer had originally written, literally, as a prayer. dc Talk's Toby McKeehan adds a little extra touch to the song's ending while reading Psalm 4 over a beautiful instrumental accompaniment. "No Regrets," a passionate and emotional song about freedom, ends the album with its sweet and beautifully arranged strings.
The Way I Am is a solid album with more than you'd expect from even someone as talented as Jennifer Knapp. It tugs at your emotions and may surprise you how often it seems like Jennifer shares your same thoughts and feelings.- Review date: 11/11/01, written by John DiBiase
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