- Sea of Love
- The Good Life
- Eye of the Storm
- Permanent Love Scar
- You and Me
- Keep Moving Forward
- When the Music Stops
- I Love You For That
- Wasting Time
- So and So
‘…I think sometimes we forget to find the good in every situation. Sure, we have to search hard for it at times, but it’s always there. By trusting God and being thankful I have noticed I don’t stress as often because I remember that everything works out exactly how God wants it to…’ Signed to DREAM Records and releasing her debut album on the same day as fellow DREAM Records artist Steve Hare (his debut album also releases on the 7th May), Hannah’s album may not necessarily have been as publicised as various other debut artist releases this year, from artists like Colton Dixon, Finding Favour and All Things New, to JJ Weeks Band, Capital Kings and the upcoming releases from Love & The Outcome and City Harbor. Whilst Hannah is probably the most unknown artist (along with Steve Hare) to release their debut album this year, this can somewhat work as a great blessing, because with anonymity comes little or even no expectations from the wide listener audience. With a vocal similarity to ex-Jump 5 vocalist Brittany Hargest and the power-pop vocal group Cadia (now disbanded); Hannah’s own admission to citing Taylor Swift as an inspiration, coupled with her vocal similarities and my own musical comparisons between Hannah and other pop artists like Britt Nicole and Kerrie Roberts; will be some of the primary reasons why I believe that her debut album will not slip by unnoticed by the fan and critic music community alike. Using synths, looping percussion beats and layered vocals to create a variety of electronic and dance sounds to bring great appeal towards the EDM and dance music community, Hannah’s age of 17 (as explored in a behind the scenes video on Youtube) is no age barrier, with her music and lyrics transparent beyond her 17 years. Reminding me of other artists that started in the music industry at a young age (Rebecca St. James and Moriah Peters to name a few), Hannah’s message to her audience (I’m sure it’s primarily directed to young teenage girls yet I found myself quite liking this album) is one of hope, following dreams, and the love that we have for each other and for God. Hannah’s jovial personality, shown through her enjoyable ‘Getting to Know Hannah Rose’ video; her bubbly personality comes through her music, reminding listeners through these 10 songs that ‘…when you let God into your life and fully consume you, nothing else will compare to how amazing it is…’
The first single and first track on the album, ‘Sea of Love’ starts off with an electronic music base with layers of reverbing vocals and light percussion as Hannah sings about the love she is surrounded with, and the assertion she has made that it is in God’s love that we can find peace in whatever situation we are in. While the lyrics can be interpreted as being sung between boyfriend and girlfriend; Hannah’s passion for Jesus is nevertheless evident through this track, as we can see the dual meaning of the heartfelt melody that reminds us the importance of love, both for each other and for God. As Hannah unveils her heart behind the song, and that ‘…sometimes we try and return to the things that once satisfied us before God was in our hearts, only to come to the realization that nothing on this earth can compare to having the love of Christ inside of us…’, the passion in her vocals and the unique and catchy music that accompanies it propels ‘Sea of Love’ to one of my favourite songs off her debut album. With looping beats and distorted vocals, we are reminded of the ocean of love and grace that we fall into everyday as we continue to soak in Christ and His continual and outpouring favour on us. Also reminding us that God’s grace never goes away, ‘Eye in Your Storm’ is sung from God’s point of view, and is one of the most personal songs on the album from Hannah. As we are reminded of God’s faithfulness to us during the trying times, this synth and keyboard prominent ballad (though only 3:14 in length) shows us some feelings we may be too ashamed to speak out loud, giving us a clear perspective that ‘…I will be by your side, to wipe away the tears you’ve cried…’ A heartfelt song that I’m sure is destined to become one of the album’s highlights when I look back in a few years, ‘Eye of the Storm’ lets us know that even in the midst of turmoil, God promises us that He will carry us through. Well done Hannah for these two songs of hope, redemption, trust and love!
Both ‘The Good Life’ and ‘When the Music Stops’ invite us to shake off our troubles and enjoy the good life we have been given as Hannah gives us encouragement and wisdom to not let the worries and uncertainties of the world bring us down as it may so often have done previously if we let it. With an electric guitar strum and a reverbing vocal, Hannah infuses the word ‘dance’ throughout her song ‘When the Music Stops’. Sometimes in this busy lifestyle, we have forgotten how to just let go and dance, to relax and let God’s grace and love move us as we respond to His never-ending love. With work, school, uni, home life, and stressful periods in our personal life even; we can feel emotionally drained by the end of it all, and dancing before the Lord can seem like it’s the last thing we want to do. Yet as I understand that as David danced before the Lord, his worries melted away; I am surely convinced that as we let go of all our worries and fears about this life and dance at Jesus’ feet, we can enjoy the life He gave us fully to what He intended for us to do. ‘The Good Life’ continues to expound upon the theme of casting our worries on Christ as we embrace the thought of how good our lives really are with Christ within us. Through looping percussion beats and light electronic keyboard sounds; Hannah lets listeners understand what she knows to be true, that ‘…people change things go wrong but just remember life goes on because every single day is brand new…’ Once we truly grasp that God is in control, we can just sit back and enjoy each day for what it is- an opportunity to show love, grace, hope, and encouragement to everyone we meet. Well done Hannah for these dance-pop melodies full of powerful hard-hitting truths about our certainty and worry-less life with Christ.
‘Keep Moving Forward’ feels like one of the most personal, poignant, confronting, emotional and encouraging songs Hannah has ever written, with pain and hope colliding to unveil one of the most revealing songs on the album, and one of my personal favourite as well. With Hannah describing out a difficult situation where the persona could be in a depressive or emotionally uncertain state; we are met with a heartfelt keyboard prominent song full of vulnerability as Hannah relays to her listeners, pondering the question to God about whether He can ‘…hear my cry in the dead of the night because I’m feeling abandoned and I don’t want to die…’ Full of intense imagery as we see a full description of a persona in desperate need of help and support, we realise that each and every one of us needs someone to help them through the difficult times we all face. Through continual support from our friends and family, as well as from the God of the universe Himself, we can gladly face tomorrow with the assurance that our circumstances and problems don’t dictate who we are, but rather the unconditional love poured out over us reminds us of our eternal worth. Hannah also delves into the subject matter of waiting for loved ones and spouses in ‘You and Me’, a song about trusting that God has the right soul mate out there for us to find as we venture in our lives trying to find the one person to spend the rest of our lives with. ‘Wasting Time’ similarly affirms that theme, and can serve as a song with dual meanings- one about how we love to spend our days and time with our loved ones, and the other about how we love to spend our time soaking in the presence of God. We are reminded by these two meanings of the song that the love that we have been given, by God and by other people, is something that’s ought to be treasured and honoured as we continue to strengthen our relationships with both God and each other.
‘I Love You For That’ spells out a love song written to God through a creative and poetic light percussion and prominent keyboard based song that gives us hope that ‘…You’re the light to my darkness, the hope to my hopeless, my peace when I’m restless and I love you for that…’; while the album ender gives us a vulnerable and compelling song about the scenario of being frightened and scared as we humans venture out and talk to new people and others that may not necessarily be like us in the 3 minute song ‘So and So’. While on the surface it’s a song about overcoming fears and talking from a ‘boy meets girl and girl meets boy’ perspective, the song on a deeper level touches upon the fear that we could sometimes have whenever we meet new people, try new things, or just step out of our comfort zone in general. As we fix our eyes on Christ, He will give us the strength in these situations. Well done Hannah for these bold themes conveyed through these fun and upbeat songs; that showcase maturity in musical and lyrical content beyond your 17 years.
Overall: Hannah Rose’s first album is one of my favourite albums in May 2013 (granted, I have only listened to that album as well as Steve Hare’s). Full of energy, life, vibrancy, fun, hope, pain, joy, sorrow, questioning, fear, doubt, certainty and trust, Hannah leaves no thematic stone unturned as she presses to the heart of issues with the songs she records and sings out. A great purchase if you love dance pop from artists like Britt Nicole, Group 1 Crew or Kerrie Roberts, or if you love pop geared to the teen audiences, from artists like Cadia, Jamie Grace, Jump5 and pureNRG, this album will certainly be up your alley. Full of intense electronic music backdrops as well as layered vocalisation and autotune, fans of EDM music will be right at home with Hannah Rose. Reminding us through every song to ‘…don’t give up on your dream and make sure you keep God at the center…’, this album is a great encouragement and a joy to whoever listens to it. Well done Hannah for such a well-rounded album full of moments of hope, peace, encouragement and motivation!
RIYL: Britt Nicole, Kerrie Roberts, Jamie Grace, pureNRG, Cadia