Artist – Mandisa
Album – What If We Were Real
Label – Sparrow Records
Street Date – April 5, 2011
Album Length – 11 Tracks, 38 minutes 29 seconds
Genre – Pop/ Urban/ RnB
IPod Pick – Free
First of all, I would like to say I was shocked by Jesusfreakhideout.com’s review on this album. It was in a way quite ‘belittling’. I formally wasn’t a big fan of former idol contestant, Mandisa but with this one, I became an instant one. Yes it’s that good. Lyrically, the album centers on authenticity in religion and just being real with our faith.
The album opens up with the hard clap ‘Stronger’ on which Mandisa encourages listeners ‘the pain won’t last forever/ it’s only gonna make you stronger’. The title track ‘What if we were real’ a rock edgy tune with a nice lead guitar rhythm  follows with Mandisa opening up singing ‘I’m tired of saying everything I feel I’m supposed to say/ I’m tired of smiling all the time I wanna throw the mask away’ and she goes on in the chorus ‘We keep trying to make it look so nice/ and we keep hiding what’s going on inside/what if I shared my brokenness what if you shared how you feel .  . . . . What if we were real’? ‘These days’ is a soft pop, feel good song with very sincere lyrics. Mandisa sings about how God shows up through the little irrelevances and annoyances (like traffic and searching for our phones in the mornings). ‘It’s funny what you use to help me grow’ she sings on this one. ‘The truth about me’ talks about looking at ourselves in God’s mirror and not that of the world, listening to what God really says about us. ‘You say lovely I say broken/  I say guilty you say forgiven’ Mandisa sings passionately in the refrain. ‘Say goodbye’ is a personal favourite. It is beautiful really in its entirety. TobyMac appears on the party ready ‘Good Morning’. The intro to this one is quite reminiscent to Kylie Minogue’s ‘Love at first sight’. ‘Waiting for Tomorrow’ is a nice tune with very thoughtful lyrics and sounds a bit in bass lines like Natalie Grants ‘What are you waiting for’ from her ‘Awaken’ project. The fine piano ballad ‘Just cry’ picks up the central theme of being real. The bouncy ‘Temporary fills’ condemns a culture of ‘want itall, buy it all’.
Okay, ‘Free’ is just Mandisa on a whole new level, you just need to listen to this. On ‘Lifeline’, Mandisa acknowledges God as our source. The album closes up with an acoustic version of ‘Stronger’ which funny enough sounds very unique and is worth the listen.
Mandisa’s new album ‘What if we were real’ is what we’ve been waiting for since she left the American idols but it’s a pity we had to wait a couple of years before we could get it. On ‘What if we were real’ Mandisa shows her ‘realness’ in skill as a musical artist of her own class with style. The whole album’s got hand prints of handwork all over it. Mandisa’s great voice is put to better use; the tunes are great and the lyrics beyond amazing. Mandisa’s latest is the real deal and worth the listen. Go for it people!

Review by Ayo Akinkugbe

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