Artist: Jenny Simmons
Album: The Becoming
Album Length: 10 Tracks. 37 minutes, 37 seconds
Street Date: February 5, 2013
Record Label: Fair Trade Services
iPod Pick: Where I Belong
I’m sorry. I’m sorry that I gave this album a five star even before I gave it a listen. You would do that if you have been following Jenny Simmons since her Addison Road days or if you’ve been following her Cupcake, Sprinkles and Other Happy Things
blog. Beyond the music, Jenny’s got an AH-mazing heart which shows forth in her music as her music has this feel of her conversing with you over coffee. “So what’s the use of this review” you might say “since the album has been five stared already” Well let’s see together if it fits the bill.
The album kicks off with guitar strumming reminiscent of the classic record ‘Torn’ by Natalie Imbruglia on ‘Where I belong’ as Jenny enters with vocals that is in fact Imbruglia -esqued as in ‘Torn’. The song morphs into a mellow but yet bouncy chorus Florence Welch and her Machines wouldn’t mind wiggling their waist to as they did on the hit ‘Dog days are over’. ‘What Faith’s About’ comes up next, a song that might just make you go open all dusty windows that have you have kept shut for so long and this is one of the many reasons why: ‘What if I jump and I find I was always made to fly? What if the days I’m walking into are the best of my whole life? What if the things that I dream become my reality? When it looks impossible, but still works out. What if that’s what faith’s about?’
I still don’t know why ‘Heaven Wait for Me’ which comes up next and happens to be my least favorite musically from the album was the first single to be released from this album. Lyrically it deals with a very sensitive topic with so much grace, hope and realness as Jenny shares her own personal story interwoven with the general longing we all share as humans about life and death. On ‘This I Know’ Jenny puts a playful twist on the popular classic ‘Jesus Loves Me’ which fans of Jason Mraz would immediately love on first listen cause it’s got a southern ting too. You would hear one of the best lyrics on the whole album as Jenny sings ‘History keeps trying to repeat. And the only way to stop it’s curse is learning how to speak’ on ‘Broken Hallelujah’. The song is composed with so much class and poise that it might surprise you that such a young artist would choose it for a debut release.
On ‘The Becoming’ Jenny sweetly sings out a prayer you might soon be singing along with her after a first listen ‘Jesus Hold me. Keep me from running. Cause I don’t wanna miss the beauty of becoming’. ‘Letting You Go’ is a shocker. Honestly, first I thought my ‘The Becoming’ CD had been switched for a Rihanna or say a Kelly Rowland CD. Jenny Shows us she can do the ‘hands-on-your-waist-independent-woman’ styled music accustomed to the likes of Shontelle, Jennifer Hudson, Beyonce, and Rihanna on this one, and she sure pulls it through well even with a bridge which features BGVS that would make you imagine three ladies wearing shiny dresses and stilettos behind a mic stand. Infact the next track ‘The In Between’ starts off with an intro reminiscent of Rihanna’s ‘Take a Bow’ but morphs into a playful chorus the likes of Avril Lavigne would place on an album.
‘Don’t Loose Heart’ which is a personal favorite is beautiful in its entirety. It starts off with soft vocals and guitar strumming before the drums roll in Alanis Morisette style. Somewhere in the middle, Jenny declares powerfully in a way that might cause you to lift your hands on listening ‘He began a work He will complete. We’ll see the goodness of the Lord in the land if the living’ It forms into a kind of crescendo as the song comes to an end. Beautifully crafted tune.
‘Come Healing’ wraps up the album perfectly as Jenny starts off this one with lazy vocals in the style of Monique of The Welcome Wagon or the beloved Jewel. The funny thing about this song is how it ends with Jenny SANGing it off like one those big black ladies in a gospel choir and yes she can SANG!
Apart from blaming Jenny for not making this record longer after it ends, ‘The Becoming’ might be one of the best things that happened to your stereo this February . I think Jenny Simmon’s debut is more than a record, it’s a story of change and the metamorphosis. You would hear it on listening and feel it in the silence that happens after the record stops. And this record I think is an essential gift to our individual ‘becoming’.
P.S – There’s a story I almost didn’t share about writing this review. I wrote this review first almost two weeks ago and I lost it. Yes I lost it, I mistakenly closed up MS word (have you ever experienced that, cause if you have, it is painful). The first review I wrote, I spent hours listening and soaking in this album, feeling the music and trying to get into what the artist might have been thinking when writing the lyrics and making the music but then it was gone the next day.
I complained and worried how whatever I would come up with after that wouldn’t be as good as the first, but I still felt a nudge to go ahead.
Sometimes we loose somethings of worth on Life’s road and wonder if we would ever get them back, that’s not the issue the issue is if we will try again, dust it all off and live. Cause the change that matters in the light of forever must happen to us and not the things around us. Friends, was this better than the first I wrote, I don’t know. Yes it(the first) was good, so good that it made me jump and made me think ‘this might be the best review I have ever written’ but then it was gone too and I would never have it back. But I have this and a big future and a fruitful mind to write more. And for that I am thankful.
Life fails, Check bounces, lovers leave, MS Word closes mistakenly, you got rejected from that job, but what do you have left? What are you thankful for in the midst of the mess and pain? And What would you do with what is left?
Cause friends I have found that we sometimes let what left hinder us from making good use of what is left.
Jenny Simmons is currently also sharing stories behind her songs at www.JennySimmons.com, who knows, something might make you see somethings clearer, maybe somethings like the the things that are left. 🙂