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JFH Music Review


Paige Armstrong
Wake Up



Artist Info: Discography
Album length: 11 tracks: 36 minutes, 58 seconds
Street Date: October 6, 2009


Paige Armstrong is someone you should know. A cancer survivor at the age of eleven, she has now taken upon the task of leading her listeners to a full life in Christ. The bold 19-year-old's major label debut album, Wake Up, is a competent, quality first effort that manages to appeal despite sometimes seeming very familiar.

Armstrong's musical style can be described as a more technical Krystal Meyers. There are lots of crunchy rock guitars mixed in with some nice solos. Musically, Wake Up varies little both within itself and within its genre. Occasionally it does break the mold, such as with the funk guitar riff that opens "Episode," but that is not the trend. The majority of tracks are heavy with mildly catchy, fist-pumping melodies and climaxes. And naturally, there are one or two ballads to calm things down. The vocals are also very similar to Meyers and unfortunately don't quite stand out from the crowd. That said, they are solid and fit the music well.

Lyrical themes are clearly geared to the teenage crowd. Armstrong feels very strongly against apathy and this is apparent in several tracks. "The Story Song" is a clear reference to Armstrong's own struggles with cancer. "Airbrushed Magazines" addresses self-image. She also speaks out against going with the crowd in "Come Alive," and of course there are some tracks dealing with relationships. Everything is approached from a Biblical, God-honoring perspective, which is a big plus. However, within Christian music circles this is somewhat standard fare, once again drawing comparisons to previous artists in the genre.

At the risk of being repetitive, I found the biggest fault of Wake Up to be it's inability to rise above the rest of the genre. Everything from the music to the lyrics to the vocals sounds very familiar, because we've mostly heard it before. With the exception of some unexpected instrumental technicality, Wake Up is par for the course.

In the end, Wake Up is still a very enjoyable album. Fans of girl-driven edgy rock will find plenty to love here. Paige Armstrong is a worthy role model for teenagers looking for good music to listen to. Wake Up delivers solid, uncompromising rock that anyone can enjoy. It's not groundbreaking, but it is satisfying.

- Review date: 10/6/09, written by Timothy Estabrooks of Jesusfreakhideout.com


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JFH Staff's Second Opinion



Paige Armstrong is already familiar to tweens who have attended the iShine Live tours. On tour, nineteen-year-old Armstrong shared her story of battling and overcoming bone cancer when she was eleven. Not only is she a gifted speaker, but she now expresses her vocals in another way …singing. The main thing that sets Paige apart from other teens in the business is the lyrical depth and sheer rawness of the music. Rockers like "Episode," "Apathy," and the title track draw comparisons to other "chick rockers" like Čowyn and Stephanie Smith. However, the brightest, most poignant times on the albums are the more reflective ballads like "Thoroughly Complete" and "Unbreak Me," which feature such real emotion that instantly prove Armstrong is a step above her fellow iShine labelmates. The only real drawback is that while the style of music suits her voice, it's been done and overdone by other countless artists, and there's nothing in particular that gives the album a real punch. For this young artist's debut record, it's clear that the focus was not on production and being unique, but instead introducing Paige into familiar musical territory. While the tracks are undeniably catchy and her voice shines throughout, it unfortunately leaves the listener feeling like "it's all been done before." - Matthew Watson of Jesusfreakhideout.com

 

. Record Label: Whiplash Records
. Album length: 11 tracks: 36 minutes, 58 seconds
. Street Date: October 6, 2009
. Buy It: iTunes
. Buy It: Amazon.com

  1. Episode (3:58)
  2. Apathy (2:52)
  3. Come Alive (3:31)
  4. I Say (3:56)
  5. Wake Up (2:53)
  6. Thoroughly Complete (2:51)
  7. Lights Burn Out (3:21)
  8. I Dare You (3:06)
  9. The Story Song (2:54)
  10. Airbrushed Magazines (3:06)
  11. Unbreak Me (4:31)

 

 

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