Genesis. Although this word is most commonly associated with the first book of The Bible, the term is often used to describe a new beginning- and there cannot be a better title for Joy Williams' latest album. This 22-year-old has had a whirlwind of a year with her new marriage, new management company, new booking agent, and, of course, a new record. Typically, so many changes can either make or break the career of a performer. The latter is not the case here. Although Genesis fits quite comfortably into the adult contemporary/pop/rock format, it should not be mistaken as a mediocre remake of Joy's previous efforts. As Joy has matured in the past two years, so did her music and the result is a stunning collection of ten new songs.
Beginning with the piano-driven "Stay," Genesis (produced by Matt Bronleewe who has also produced the likes of Michael W. Smith, Jars Of Clay, and Rebecca St. James) is already an incredible leap from that of Joy's self-titled debut and her sophomore record By Surprise. Following the opening cut is "We," (a personal favorite) which explores the inner struggles and insecurities of those who appear to have it all together. The song's catchy rhythm combined with Joy's amazing vocal talents create a track that stands out for all the right reasons. Genesis continues to jump forward without falling as it presses on with the pop numbers "Say Goodbye" (from which the album's title was drawn from) and "Unafraid," both of which do an excellent job showcasing Joy's vocal talents. Another upbeat tune, "Hide," found its place even before Genesis released. Breaking records by being added to 47 radio stations in just one week, it's no wonder this particular song connects with such a vast number of listeners as it reminds all that they "Don't have to hide anymore" or "Face this on your own."
Genesis stays lyrically upbeat and encouraging through the course of its ten tracks. Listeners can even see and appreciate Joy's honesty, especially on "Silence," a song that addresses the reality that God's answers to prayer don't always come right away: "So okay/ Answer me with silence It's okay if You don't say a word/ You're testing me to trust You'll be faithful in this quiet..." Joy addresses a new kind of happiness she's found in life as she sings about her newly found married life in the soft "I'm In Love With You," written to her husband. Williams closes out Genesis with the slow ballad "Child of Eden," where Joy admits she's had her "Adam and Eve" moments in life but falls back on God's love and forgiveness.
For the first time ever, Joy Williams stepped out and co-wrote every song on the record. Alongside this new accomplishment, Joy has never sounded better. Whether it be her pure voice or the quality production and musicianship, Genesis is simply a very good record where most will find that Joy is truly starting to come into her own artistic being. The disc's only downfall, however, is its length - featuring a mere ten songs. But whatever the reason for the smaller quantity of tracks, after one listen to Genesis, listeners are sure to find a home for it… probably right inside their stereos.- Review date: 4/29/05, written by Lauren Summerford
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