Album Review: 'Ready to Fly'
Published: Friday, January 31, 2014
Updated: Friday, January 31, 2014 00:01
Jamie Grace — the youngest nominee at the 2012 Grammy Awards, and known for “Hold Me featuring tobyMac” and her first album, “One Song at a Time” — makes Christian rock dynamic and bubbly. Her music focuses on inspiration and attempts to spread a positive message, drawing from Grace’s own struggles with Tourette’s Syndrome and the impact that it has had on her life. Now, Grace is releasing her follow-up album, “Ready to Fly,” continuing in the same vein. It is fun, upbeat and centers a lot on Grace’s own faith. While this theme may cause listeners to instantly dismiss this album, the strength and positivity of many of the tracks gives it some intrigue and makes it worth a listen, even for those not normally drawn to the genre.
The first track is a little unexpected. “So Amazing (Prelude)” is 28 seconds of irrelevance. Although the track has a cool, old-school radio kind of sound, the introduction to the album is totally unnecessary and the lyrics are hard to understand without listening to at an excessive volume.
Next is “Beautiful Day”. It’s cookie-cutter pop music, essentially, with a lyrical twist that God is Grace’s refuge. It is much more modern and hip than often associated with Christian music — it’s a far cry from a Gregorian chant or a Christmas carol — and for that reason, it is surprisingly fun. The title track of the album is very similar. “Ready to Fly” has a lot in common with “Beautiful Day,” although it has some melodic surprises, such as a tuba playing in the background. This gives the music some depth, which is compounded by a short shift to a minor key that differentiates the two songs.
By far, the best track on the album is “Little Ol’ Me,” which discusses how all individuals are an important part of God’s plan. For someone who rarely, if ever, listens to Christian pop music, the message was a nice change from the living-for-the-weekend-type songs that are often chart toppers. It may not be your style, but it’s hard to not be impressed with Grace breaking into the music industry with this type of material.
With a country feel, “White Boots” is a collaboration with Morgan Harper. The addition of a gospel choir to the chorus gives depth to the song and makes it a pleasurable listen. The song is a departure from the Top 40 feel of the rest of the tracks, making it an asset for the album.
The track that probably has the biggest chance of making it big is, fittingly, “Do Life Big.” It has a little more of a dance-party feel than many of the others, so it will surely be the most popular with the masses. It also has a theme lots of music fans can stand behind: stopping to smell the roses. Finally, Grace promotes changing your life in a big way. She is setting big goals for herself, similar to her other song, “Fighter,” where she tells stories about the struggles of both herself and others to encourage resilience in her fans. This has proved to be a successful message for her fellow pop stars, and will likely serve her well.
All in all, “Ready to Fly” isn’t a bad album. If it were a secular pop album, it probably wouldn’t be anything to write home about. The positive messages about faith, getting the good things in life you deserve and trust are not often found in pop music, making the album stand out. Its positivity saves it from being passed over due to its mediocre music, lyrics and repetitive nature.
For fans of Chris Rice and Tenth Avenue North, this album will be a hit. If you’re a pop fan, give this a try for its positive message and uplifting feel. The genre may not be to your liking, but it’s a refreshing break from the common themes currently repeated in pop music, and for that reason, deserves a listen.