For Meredith Andrews, music has been a constant thread in her life, even if it wasn't
her initial career choice. She found her start singing in church at six years old, and over the years,
continued to develop her music there, leading student worship at Liberty University while planning to work in
an orphanage after graduation. However, music proved to be her calling, and she accepted a job at Harvest Church
in Chicago before eventually signing to Word Records. Two years after the release of her debut, The Invitation,
she's back with As Long As It Takes, a piano-based pop worship project that follows in the tradition
of her debut.
Andrews' music ministry background is evident all through her earlier work, and her sophomore album is no
exception. Her church-friendly sound draws comparisons to Darlene Zschech or Laura Story, but it's her lyrics and
voice that take center stage. Every song is co-written by Andrews, and her voice is strong and clear to handle the most powerful choruses. As a whole, it's a pleasant listening experience, but it's also mostly standard worship fare.
"Never Move On" opens with a sound that would fit right into a Sunday morning playlist. It's not a
standout track, but it's a nice opener to set the pace for the rest of the album, and "Only to be Yours" follows
suit. But the first true highlight and surprise comes in "Can Anybody Hear Me," a ballad that shows off her vocal
power and edges toward more personal songwriting. Questioning God's apparent silence in the face of pain --
"why do you feel so far away?" -- is an unexpected moment for her genre, even though it takes a positive
turn by affirming in the same breath "I just need the faith to see / Nothing can separate me from Your love."
Though the "are you there, God?" theme isn't exactly unheard of in Christian music, it's a welcome touch of
vulnerability to keep this from feeling like a batch of corporate worship songs.
The music doesn't deviate too much from the safety of pop-praise, but there is an especially pretty moment in
"All Will Fade Away," a hushed ballad that lets the softer side of her voice and piano melodies shine through
until building to a dramatic peak and closing with a quiet chorus that would be lovely in a live setting.
A bit of musical variety shows up in "Live Through Me," which features a sprightly little piano intro backed by
strings and a drum beat that just barely borders on a dance vibe. It wakes up the latter half of the album's
worship ballad tendencies with a catchy pop edge.
Honestly, it's hard to draw a conclusion about this album. The songs are pretty, Andrews' voice is right on,
and the fact that she writes her own songs is a big bonus. Fans of her earlier work and other artists in this
style should find plenty to love about her latest collection. But there's not really a whole lot of change
either. Andrews' music could benefit from pushing her sound further, or perhaps trying some more personal lyric
writing. Still, it's a good album, and there's something to say for staying true to one's roots.
As Long As It Takes may not be groundbreaking, but listeners will find Andrews' heartfelt praise hard
not to like.
- Review date: 2/28/10, written by Jen Rose of Jesusfreakhideout.com
Meredith Andrews impressed me with the release of her first album, The Invitation,
two years ago, so it’s only natural that I’ve been looking forward to this one for a while.
I can safely say it’s worth the wait. Although she is a worship leader, most of the songs seem more ready for
AC radio than Sunday morning worship (with the possible exception of “How Great Is The Love”), which
can ultimately be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on personal preference. On that note, the album is
significantly slower in tempo and heavier on ballads than The Invitation, but that doesn’t mean the
songs aren’t as catchy. Her gift for songwriting stands out more with this record though, and seems truly
heartfelt. Highlights include the wonderful ballads “As Long As It Takes” and “Can Anybody Hear Me,” as
well as the beautifully orchestrated “What It Means To Love,” and the more upbeat “Live Through Me.” Overall,
Meredith’s As Long As It Takes is a worthy sophomore album that brings out the best in her talents.
- Matthew Watson of Jesusfreakhideout.com