Album Review :
Yancy - Jesus Music Box

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Artist: Yancy
Title: Jesus Music Box
Label: Yancy Ministries
Release Date: 3/5/13
Reviewer: Jonathan Andre


  1. Not Ashamed
  2. Better than the Best Thing
  3. All Things
  4. You are Everything
  5. Evidence of You
  6. Our God
  7. Always With Us (feat. Canon)
  8. When We Pray
  9. Be Careful
  10. As Long as I Live
  11. Forever and Always
  12. Our God Reigns

Having toured with Mute Math, Newsboys and Nichole Nordeman as well as co-writing Avalon’s ‘I Don’t Want to Go’ and Jaci Velasquez’s ‘Something Beautiful’, Yancy’s heart for music ministry stemmed from her early days being a PK (pastor’s kid), with her heart for ministering into the CCM market with a fair amount of albums geared to children and teenagers certainly evident through her music. While not necessarily the most recognisable artist within the Christian music circle (yet endorsed by Third Day frontman Mac Powell when he declares that ‘…I feel that it will not be long until many more people discover the heart, faith and passion for music and ministry that Yancy possesses…’), Yancy’s music has always been the same, whether it is CCM or children’s music- her heart for encouraging listeners through their everyday walk with Christ is clearly shown through her music. Recording a number of worship covers throughout the years, from Chris Tomlin’s ‘Not to Us’, Third Day’s ‘Your Love Oh Lord’, Aaron Shust’s ‘My Saviour, My God’, and now Chris Tomlin’s ‘Our God’ released on her 2013 album Jesus Music Box, the evolution of Yancy’s music throughout the years has incorporated many musical styles. While Jesus Music Box does contain some melodies strictly geared towards children (‘All Things’, ‘Evidence of You’, ‘Be Careful’, ‘When We Pray’), we are reminded to always keep a child-like heart through these simple yet equally profound songs that show us the Father’s heart for us. From ‘Not Ashamed’ the first radio single that gives us encouragement to declare the name of Jesus, to the cover of ‘Our God’ (one of my favourite recordings alongside Matt Redman’s version on Sing Like Never Before) and ‘Always With Us’, a collaboration with Canon which debuted on; Yancy shares how special the album is to her and that ‘…Jesus Music Box is the new chapter in my musical story…too many people in this world, Christians or not, shy away from proclaiming Jesus in their lives. These songs will inspire the listener to stand up, be bold and shine the light of Jesus in every part of their world…’ While not necessarily the most promoted release in March (with new albums from Passion, JJ Heller, Citizens and Audio Adrenaline arguably the most talked-about over the internet and on social media), Yancy’s latest album is a must-purchase for anyone who has loved her music before or enjoy some laid-back lyrically-easy learning songs about our identity in Christ and how we ought to ‘…play Jesus on my music box, I’ll shout it loud from every rooftop…’ (‘Not Ashamed’).

‘Always With Us’ was released as a promotional single on (a site that releases rap/hip-hop material from artists like Lecrae, Benjah, Da T.R.U.T.H., Andy Mineo and Trip Lee) and is a slight divergence in musical genre for Yancy, partnering with rap artist Canon to create a song that reminds us that God is with us always. Starting off the song with an electronic beat that creates a mesmerising hook that brings in a variety of listeners (listeners of CCM and of hip hop), Yancy’s vocals are better than ever as she reminds us all that ‘…we don’t have to worry, we don’t have to fear, God is always with us, God is always near…’ With this song being one of my favourites not necessarily for its lyrical content (though it’s easy to listen to and sing along with as we hear some great biblical truths), I was really fascinated with the ability to incorporate a rap section, and while Canon isn’t really audible at times during his rap, we are met with a moment of clarity as Canon declares in his own way that Christ is always with us. A great infusion of both pop, hip hop and rap, fans of Britt Nicole, Lecrae, Group 1 Crew or Capital Kings are sure to enjoy this fun and danceable track from Yancy, and one of my personal highlights on Jesus Music Box. Well done Yancy for such a compelling track.

‘Our God’ is one of my favourite worship songs of late, and has become a great worship anthem sung by many worship leaders around the world. With covers from artists like Israel Houghton, Seventh Day Slumber, Brett Younker and Lincoln Brewster, Yancy’s version of a Chris Tomlin classic is just as good as the other covers, delivered with such enthusiasm as Yancy stays true to the original version of the song. Hearing the words ‘…our God is greater, our God is stronger, God You are higher than any other…’ is greatly refreshing, and while this is the only cover on the album, Yancy has been able to assimilate this song in with the rest of her originals, fitting nicely in and amongst songs like ‘Not Ashamed’, ‘Better than the Best Thing’ and ‘Forever, Today and Always’. With such a strong electric guitar presence on this 4:02 minute track, we are all called to declare that God with us, understanding that ‘…if our God is for us, then what could ever stop us?…’ Such a powerful song that fits perfectly on an album full of songs declaring our worth in Christ, this modern worship classic is certainly going to bring in listeners that may not necessarily have listened to Yancy before. ‘Not Ashamed’ is the album’s official first single (and first track) from the album, and while the verses may be a little repetitive and somewhat corny ‘…turn the lights on, 1, 2, 3, crack the music, play the beat, we’ve got a song to sing so let’s sing it out…’, this catchy melody about proclaiming the name of Jesus is one that will certainly raise the questions in our minds as we ponder- are we really not ashamed to declare Christ to everyone we meet (even if they ask or don’t)? If not, then how come? There seems to be an unspoken rule in today’s society to keep opinions and beliefs to ourselves, but if we’re convinced we know the answer to salvation, then why would we want to keep it to ourselves? With Yancy giving great background vocals herself as well as a riveting electric guitar musical backdrop, ‘Not Ashamed’, with similar themes to other songs titled ‘Not Ashamed’ by artists Kristian Stanfill and Delirious?, is a great start to an album full of freshness, fun and enjoyableness. Well done Yancy for a great cover and first track!

Yancy’s infectious enthusiasm coupled with different styles of music incorporated into her songs gives this album a uniqueness about it, with the album different to much of the made-for-radio CCM albums released every week of every month. ‘All Things’ is a swinging motown-like song that lets us know that ‘…our God is bigger…’, giving us all the things that we ask for as we pursue Him with a thankful and cheerful heart, while ‘Evidence of You’ reminds us that in everything that we do or say, we ought to let our lives be a mirror of Christ to others. Full of heavy guitars to present to us one of the rockiest anthems on the record, ‘Evidence of You’ is personally one of my favourites, reminding myself in particular of 1 Corinthians 10:31, where Paul lets us know that everything that is done is for the glory of Christ. ‘Better than the Best Thing’, while having a cheesy song title, and a gang vocal and lyrics that could even be part of a song written in 10 minutes, we are still reminded of how Jesus is our centre and the circumference of our lives, no matter how sometimes the song can seem a little cliché or even ‘simple’ in terms of musical delivery and lyrical creativity, while ‘When We Pray’ employs a Nintendo-esque background music to bring us into a simple song about how Christ is always listening whenever we talk to Him, despite the moments when we may think He’s far away. Even though Yancy’s album is theoretically defined as kid’s music (a great proportion of the music on this album is projected to the pre-teen and teen audience- like the musically different ‘Be Careful’- based on the children’s song about how we have to be careful what we look or listen to), Jesus Music Box breaks the boundaries and blurs them between kids music and CCM, employing musical and lyrical messages that intertwine into both musical genres. ‘Forever, Today and Always’ is a subdued acoustic and light percussion track about how God always stays the same throughout all circumstances, and linking onto that theme, it is because of our knowledge of God staying with us that we proclaim the lyrics in ‘As Long as I Live’- that ‘…as long as I live, I’m gonna sing, You are faithful, You are my king, and I love You so…’ ‘You are Everything’ creates a heavy bassline that brings the listeners on a poignant journey of discovering that Christ ‘…hold[s] the answer for every problem I can’t solve, I don’t have to try all by myself, I can put my trust in You…’ While simple at face value (everyone knows that we can put out faith and trust in Christ, right?), this truth can be profoundly impacting to many people listening, and this slow ballad full of light acoustics can help with the solidifying of understanding as we fully grasp God’s intentions for us- Him wanting to be everything that we can ever need or rely upon. Well done Yancy for these tracks of identity building, and while initially geared towards teens and pre-teens, this album is also for anyone struggling to see what Christ sees in them, as well as those who are just wanting to listen to some laid back chilled music with a simple beat that draws us into lyrical truths about who we are in the sight of our God and Friend!

Overall: Yancy’s fun personality and heartfelt passion to see listeners of all ages receive and walk in the truth of God’s unequivocal love for us is certainly evident through these 12 tracks. While not necessarily the most well-known musical artist within the CCM industry at this current moment, Jesus Music Box is certainly a highlight of mine within March 2013 (alongside Passion: Let the Future Begin, Kings and Queens (Audio Adrenaline) and Jesus, Firm Foundation: Hymns of Worship). With a variety of musical genres, from pop to ballads to hip hop and rap, Yancy’s versatile musical style is a great asset as we hear one of the most different and unique albums of her career. Fans of artists like Rebecca St. James, Natalie Grant and Francesca Battistelli will definitely enjoy this album (or even fans of Phil Joel’s deliberatekids album). With such a heart for building up the faith foundation in listeners at an early age, the songs on Jesus Music Box ‘…are all based on scripture and the outcome is a really nice chilled-out worship experience that I know adults are going to really enjoy…’ Well done Yancy for such an enjoyable and worshipful experience.

RIYL: Phil Joel, Rebecca St. James, Francesca Battistelli, Natalie Grant

Buy the Album: iTunes/Amazon mp3