Album Review :
Lanae' Hale - Back & Forth

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Artist: Lanae’ Hale
Album: Back & Forth
Label: Centricity Records
Release Date: May 19, 2009
Review By: Eric Pettersson

Tracklist:
1. Back and Forth
2. Beautiful Things
3. Here’s My Heart
4. Burning Heartbeats
5. Let’s Grow Old Together
6. It’s Over
7. If I’m Broken
8. Here’s to the Girls
9. Estranged
10. Headed Home
11. Don’t Cry
Bonus Acoustic Cuts:
12. Break My Fall
13. Quiet Place

Female pop artists tend to have a bad reputation as writing cheesy and shallow music that has more to do with commercialism than genuine artistic expression. Then there’s Lanae’ Hale. This twenty-six year old singer/songwriter brings back the depth and sincerity of artists like Sixpence None the Richer or Nichole Nordeman. Back & Forth, her full-length debut on Centricity Records, is already an obvious pick as one of the top releases from the CCM world in 2009.

The first three songs on the record are a fast and upbeat beginning, and at least two of them are sure to become singles. There is true feeling in Lanae’s voice, and the way her vocal style twists around certain words brings out a slightly quirky indie vibe. While it’s not a universal rule, the album tends to get softer as it runs along, really starting with track five, “Let’s Grow Old Together.” Lyrically, this is a really smart and mature love song, even with its fun and light feel musically. This is a real feat, because love songs can often be really sappy and lame (see: 80’s ballads), but Lanae’ steps over this pitfall by saying some really meaningful things in this song for her husband. My introduction to this album was hearing the piano-based “It’s Over” playing in my local Christian bookstore, and at first I thought it was Leigh Nash, which I guess says something good for Lanae’ since I love Leigh Nash. It’s these softer songs that really draw me into Lanae’s music. Even the fun pop songs are enjoyable in the context of these truly wonderful coffee-shop styled tunes.

Overall: It’s nearly impossible in the pop world today to find smart lyrics with such meaning and depth as Lanae’ Hale’s. Back & Forth features a good blend of energetic radio-ready songs with softer, gentler tunes, but both styles carry thoughtful and intelligent lyrics, which is only one of the unique traits of this talented young artist.

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