Artist: Jaci Velasquez
Label: Inpop Records
Release Date: 2/7/12
Reviewer: Jonathan Andre
- Give Them Jesus
- The Sound of Your Voice
- Fall For You
- Con El Viento A Mi Favor
- Tell Me Again
- Trust In You
- Good Morning Sunshine
Jaci Velasquez has released many singles during her 16 year career in the Christian music industry, including ‘God So Loved’, ‘You’re My God’, ‘On My Knees’ and ‘Flowers in the Rain’. Back from a 4 year hiatus after releasing her 2008 album, Love Out Loud; Jaci’s return to music was poised as one of the greatest comebacks in recent Christian music history. As a result, Jaci has crafted an album for her old and new fans alike. Even featuring a Spanish track, Jaci has released an album that speaks to the heart of every person, showing them that we are the diamonds that God calls His own, that what we see as hopeless and dirty, He claims as His prized possession, shaping the circumstances in our lives to show us He is the one we ought to rely on.
‘Give Them Jesus’ is the first single from Diamond, and as I sit and listen to the refreshing musical arrangements, including the ‘ohh ohh’ backing vocals and electronic percussion sounds; I am compelled to draw parallels to Matthew West’s song, ‘My Own Little World’, as Jaci encourages Christians to move out of our comfort zone so that we can ‘…give them love, give them Jesus…’ As Jaci comments on what she wants listeners to obtain from this song, ‘…We all can’t take mission trips, but giving Jesus to people isn’t always running across the world. It’s showing love to those around us, smiling at a stranger…’ we understand our responsibility as Christians to step out of our ‘Christian-bubble’ that sometimes we can be in, as we venture out of our comfort zone to share the others, our lives, our hopes, our dreams, and as we build relationships, hopefully the Lord will continue to deposit some of His love in their hearts as they open up to Him. A pop-radio tune that is almost destined to go on this year’s WOW Hits; this is a fun and refreshing new single by an artist with such a great reputation.
‘Tell Me Again’ starts off with a guitar solo of sorts as Jaci sings vulnerably about the mistakes she has made and will continue to make, asking the Lord for His continual reminder that she is loved no matter what happens. There is a reassurance that is given through this song, knowledge that even if we understand that He loves us beyond compare, we can never hear it enough because it is so wonderful that God ‘…can stop this noise, come and drown out all my doubt and let me hear your voice…’ ‘Diamond’, ‘Fall For You’ and ‘Sound of Your Voice’ are all stand-out tracks, as Jaci’s vocals soar amidst the acoustics, electric guitars, and percussion. Sung from God’s point of view, Jaci points out in ‘Fall For You’ that God could ‘…never leave you alone, how could you expect me to, you need me more than you know; hand me all your pain and I will love you anyway…’ A catchy song that has recently made it’s way to one of the most underrated of Jaci’s songs on Diamond, I am further impressed at how she is able to write in such an honest and vulnerable manner, with the song almost feeling like God is actually speaking; urging us to understand that He has taken the fall for us so that we can never fall again. The title track showcases Jaci’s trust in God’s ability to ‘…take an ordinary life and fill it ’til it’s full of light because of Your love…til I’m shining like a diamond…’ Through the powerful drum strikes and grunging guitars, I am enlightened at how God can call the screw-up that is me a new creation, amazed and incredibly privileged at how God can call me His child. ‘Sound of Your Voice’ is an anthem at heart, and is the second single from the album. With a lot of gang vocals, rising guitars and strings, Jaci shows us that it is God’s voice alone that ‘…echo’s forever, the sound of Your voice, holds us together…’ God is the star maker and earth holder, yet He’s also the listener, the comforter and ever-present help; mighty and infinite, yet just as intimate. What an eye-opening song about the character of God!
Throughout the whole album, Jaci brings many themes and issues to each of the songs, with many listeners calling certain songs their own as Jaci is able to bring her personal hopes, dreams and failures into her songwriting. From writing a song about her kids and acknowledging that they are going to grow up, and accepting that there will be moments when ‘…I can’t let you leave…’ (‘Stay’), conveying the truth of trusting God with our control habits and fears of the future (‘Trust in You’) as well as reassuring young girls around the world that ‘…you’re so unique and don’t let anybody question your style, don’t let em talk ‘till they walk in your shoes just for a little while…’ (‘Girl’); it was the two album closers ‘Good Morning Sunshine’ and ‘Guilt’ that took me by surprise in both their lyrical and musical arrangements. ‘Guilt’ starts with a dynamic guitar introduction, speaking to many people over different walks of life. We all feel like we are guilty in certain ways, afraid about doing this or that, or what other people think about our situations. We may feel guilty about all sorts of things, ashamed about our past mistakes, but God is continually showing us in many different ways that ‘…I am pure and I’m not guilty anymore…’ ‘Good Morning Sunshine’ is piano-only as Jaci leads the listener on an amazing journey of hope and anticipation as Jaci addresses her own ‘sunshine’- her husband, promptly declaring ‘…good morning sunshine, you feel like a dream, I have been waiting for the promise you bring…’ Listeners are shown Jaci’s commitment, that ‘…Whatever’s before us, I know that with His help we’ll surely pass any test …’ and in a world of marriages failing, kudos to Jaci for abiding with her husband, understanding that anything can be conquered with God’s help and assistance.
Overall: Jaci’s album certainly provides listeners, new and old, with some lyrical and biblical truths to mull over after her album is completed. The four year absence from music doesn’t seem to impact her musical style, using her time off to co-host a breakfast show on ‘Today’s Christian Music’. Certainly a must if you’re a Jaci fan, this is an album for relaxing as well as opening down your windows of your car and blasting the volume til full pelt. Jaci is certainly back in the CCM music scene with Diamond! Well done Jaci for a compelling comeback album!
RIYL: Natalie Grant, Nichole Nordeman, Rebecca St. James, Kerrie Roberts
Buy the Album: iTunes/Amazon mp3