Get the new FREE JFH MP3 compilation -- Vol. 12!
Get the new FREE JFH MP3 compilation -- Vol. 12!

JFH Music Review

Tori Kelly, Unbreakable Smile

Tori Kelly
Unbreakable Smile

Artist Info: Discography
Genre(s): R&B / Pop
Album length: 16 tracks: 56 minutes
Street Date: June 23, 2015


If you are a fan of Ariana Grande and are looking for an alternative in the Christian-sphere, look no further than Tori Kelly. American Idol fans may recall her from a brief stint she had on the show. She never made it to the live shows, and judge Simon Cowell called her voice "annoying," but if anything, this rejection propelled her career even further.

A singer-songwriter with a voice for a generation, Kelly gained momentum with her YouTube channel posting both covers and originals. Her vocal chops and grassroots fame eventually landed her a record deal. On her projects, you can find storytelling lyrics against an acoustic backdrop with Kelly's gifted vocals. She is a multifaceted musician at her core, and every album and EP of hers contains pleasant gifts along the way.

Unbreakable Smile, her debut full-length album, is not a disappointment by any means. One of the factors that makes Kelly so compelling is her incredible vocal range. Without a doubt, she competes as one of the best vocalists of the 2010s. One can also tell from her recordings that she is a gifted musician. Songs like "Unbreakable Smile" and "Anyway" both show off her genius when it comes to crafting harmonies and just the overall instrumentation of her voice. The third single, "Hollow," is a standout on the album for her vocal range, lyrics, and aesthetic quality. It is simply a beautiful song, and listeners can look on as she pours out her heart to God.

Far from being the only standouts, I think there are a plethora of qualities that listeners can pick and choose from in being their favorites. One is obviously the powerful vocals, another could be the creative melodies which are not lacking on any track, and another could be the lyrics. The theme is standing up for yourself, and Kelly making a declaration about who she is. Lyrics from the title track, "Call me what you want and matter fact just say it loud and don't stutter/ Cause I know who I am/ Yeah, I'm still the same," and the preacher-style lyrics in "Funny," showcase Kelly's insights about the industry and the world.

Lastly, there is no shortage of romance tracks on this album. Standouts include "Should've Been Us," "Nobody Love," and "I Was Made for Loving You," which features Ed Sheeran. These songs are beautiful pop music gifts, and they are what Kelly had been known for on her two previous EPs.

As a note of criticism, I may argue that some songs in the middle do not capture what Kelly is known for. They lack the uniqueness and imagination of some of the other tracks. Songs like "Art of Letting You Go," "City Dove," and "California Lovers" lack perspective and sound like easily crafted pop songs without that Tori Kelly sparkle. Inherently, however, they are not bad songs; I just wished they captured more of Kelly's artistic flair.

Kelly has a track record of giving the world aesthetically pleasing songs to listen to and this album delivers just that. Unbreakable Smile is full of precious stones where you can easily pull out something to be excited by or even learn from. Even though the road was long, this album makes Kelly's perseverance all worth it. She certainly earned her unbreakable smile.

- Review date: 3/14/22, written by McKenzie Mitchell of

(JFH Sponsor Spot)

Listen to the new single from AOH Music!


. Record Label: Capitol Records / Schoolboy Records
. Album length: 16 tracks: 56 minutes
. Street Date: June 23, 2015
. Buy It: Apple Music
. Buy It: Apple Music (Deluxe)
. Buy It: (CD) (Regular)
. Buy It: (CD) (Deluxe)
. Buy It: (CD) (Super Deluxe)
. Buy It: (Vinyl)
. Buy It: AmazonMP3

  1. Where I Belong (Intro) (1:27)
  2. Unbreakable Smile (3:48)
  3. Nobody Love (3:23)
  4. Expensive [feat. Daye Jack] (3:27)
  5. Should’ve Been Us (3:06)
  6. First Heartbreak (3:25)
  7. I Was Made For Loving You [feat. Ed Sheeran] (3:08)
  8. City Dove (3:42)
  9. Talk (3:52)
  10. Funny (Live) (4:17)
  11. Art Of Letting You Go (3:36)
  12. California Lovers [feat. LL Cool J] (3:40)
  13. Falling Slow (3:54)
  14. Anyway (4:32)
  15. Hollow (3:31)
  16. Something Beautiful (3:44)

    "Bonus Track Version" Bonus Tracks:

  17. Dear No One (Bonus Track) (3:19)
  18. Beautiful Things (Bonus Track) (3:08)


Leave a Comment



go to main Album review page
go to Album review archive


(JFH Sponsor Spot)



Listen to the new single from AOH Music!

Search JFH

This Thursday, September 28, 2023
KJ-52 Still Standing (independent)

This Friday, September 29, 2023
'68 Yes, and... [Pure Noise]
Blanca The Heartbreak And The Healing (Deluxe Edition) [Curb/Word]
Equippers Worship Desert River EP [DREAM]
Fresh Start Worship He Is Here [RCAI]
The Inspirations Reunion LIVE [Horizon]
RED Rated R [RED/The Fuel]
Still Worship Cello Vol. 1 [Integrity]
Vineyard Worship This Joy [Integrity]

Citizens everything and more (acoustic) - Single [Integrity]
Colton Dixon Home For Christmas - Single [Atlantic]
Amy Jay Joke - Single [A for Effort]
The Katinas Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus - Single (independent)
Natalie Layne Amen (Piano Version) - Single [Centricity]
The Protest Dying Breath - Single (independent)
The Talleys No One Ever Cared For Me Like Jesus (Live) [Crossroads]
Chase Tremaine Time - Single (independent)

Next Friday, October 6, 2023
Kirk Franklin Father's Day [RCA/Fo Yo Soul]
Amy Grant Lead Me On Live 1989 [AG/Sparrow]
Natalie Grant Seasons [Curb/Word]
Lucy Grimble Ready For The Dawn [Integrity]
Hillsong UNITED Zion (X) [Capitol CMG]
ONE House Music Eyes Up - EP [Re:Think/Capitol CMG]

For all release dates, click here!

Listen to the new EP from Wind And Sail!

Download the latest JFH compilation FREE

Check out depositphotos for royalty free images