Rebecca St. James never ceases to amaze me. She's 21, she's beautiful, and she still loves God like someone who just came away from an amazing Spirit-filled youth retreat and is running on a Spiritual "high." Each song she's ever written and recorded has been in-your-face and bold with the Christian message, never looking anywhere but vertically to our loving God. Rebecca has become a young adult who all of us can look at and learn from.
Pray is Rebecca's newest project, the follow-up to 1996's Grammy-nominated God and 1997's seasonal project, Christmas. Much like God, Pray is a successful mix of her Aussie-accented vocals and pop/rock-driven tunes. However, Becca's had her musician pals turn up their amps a little bit for this one. Not too many of the tracks can really enter the "ballad" category while some do start out or just hover above that description.
The album kicks off with her new single/video and title cut from the album, which was inspired by 2 Chronicles 7:14. The song begins with some strings, including a violin, leading the listener to think, "Uh-oh! Has Reccas gone soft?" But before you can really finish the sinking feeling, the drums roll in and the electric guitars say "hello" with a catchy tune you'll more than likely want to hear over and over.
Rebecca decided to do a couple of pretty funky covers on this album. She reworked Rich Mullins' "Hold Me Jesus" into a slow, almost dark, but repentive cry out to God to draw near to us when we're in need of His comfort. Also, she redoes Keith Green's classic "Lord, You're Beautiful" with electronic drums and bass carrying her soft, melodic voice through the intro before a stronger beat jumps in. Before long, the guitars are more prominent, strings have been introduced, and Becca's voice has been layered to give the track a new identity.
Before I critique the whole thing for half a novel, I'll close with this: Miss St. James has made another successful recording and I highly recommend it for fans of her previous work and for those who may prefer a little edgy pop/rock now and then.- Review date: 10/19/98, written by John DiBiase
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