Artist: Audrey Assad
Street Date: February 14, 2012
Label: Sparrow Records
Album Length: 13 tracks, 55 minutes 25 seconds
IPod Pick: Lament
I patiently waited for Audrey Assad’s sophomore’s project since her debut so I was excited to hear sometimes last year via twitter that it would be dropping on February 14 (Valentine’s Day). ‘Heart’ is such a bold title to give to an album and if this project is bold? I would say yes and if it has lots to offer? Come along with me and let’s see
‘Blessed are the ones’ (co-written with Derek Webb and his wife Sandra McCraken) starts off the album too weak, compared to her debut. This song has a monotonous sound that could tempt a new listener of Audrey to skip. ‘Even The Winter’ comes up next with the vintage upbeat Assad style, think the song ‘The House You’re building’ from her debut. ‘The Way You Move’ slows things down again in a way that could have only worked well for a jazz/soul album on which you know what you are expecting. In fact Audrey throws in some very soulful and quite strong vocals on this one, think Adele/ Beyoncé singing up a ballad tune.
The album picks up on the movable ‘Sparrow’ on which Audrey throws in a lovely twist on the old hymn “His Eyes Is on the Sparrow’. It’s beautifully done and would soon become a favorite even for first time listeners. Audrey breaks up new grounds on ‘Breaking You’ sounding like something a black gospel lady would render say Whitney Houston or Kim Burrell. It’s a soulful bouncy vibe and Audrey adds the moodiness with her exceptional voice. ‘O My Soul’ is a contemplative ballad with beautiful piano. Audrey throws another surprise on ‘Won Me Over’ with the car-windows down, blue sky tune. Nice to hear Audrey sing something poppy enough to land on a Katy Perry album but still doesn’t break any new ground musically. ‘No Turning Back’ evokes a lot of creativity musically weaving in the classic Hymn ‘I Have Decided’ somewhere in the middle of it.
‘Lament’, which was co- written by Songwriter Pete Kipley (MercyMe, Alli Rogers, the Katinas) is beautiful and classically Audrey Assad’s style, showcasing her beautiful unstressed voice. Just as it started, I knew it would be my best song on the album. It’s a song that would move your heart. It’s like Audrey really starts off ‘Heart’ from its 9th track (which is ‘Lament’) as ‘Wherever You Go’ follows with a tune that would pierce any heart, think the ambient sounds of Florence and the Machines. ‘Slow’ is slowly beautiful as it builds up to a tune that would remind you of the melody and tunes of Adele. On ‘Slow’, you would hear one of the deepest lyrics on the album ‘I heard that faith moves mountain, I know it moves my fear to follow you. Maybe I’m a mountain because it’s moving me to follow you’. On ‘New Song’ we hear a bit of the choir styled BGVs. ‘Other Side’ a bonus track ends the album on a bouncy note.
Listening to Audrey Assad’s ‘Heart’ from the first to last track reminds me of the invitation offered to every artist to be naked before their audience, to lay bare their emotions and where they are at the moment. It’s a tough call and only few artistes are bold enough to take up the call. Audrey does this to her best as she doesn’t try to cover up her heavy lyrics in need of contemplation with too many poppy melodies. ‘Heart’ is bold, creative and a new side of Audrey we didn’t see on ‘The House You’re Building’. So much hard work and reflection before this album was made and you would know it. My advice: Get it and let it unveil itself. Like every heart, ‘Heart’ is deep.