At the tender young age of fifteen, Bethany Dillon released her self-titled debut album. Here the young singer/songwriter is only eighteen years old releasing her third project on Sparrow Records and some may say that she is all grown up. With much of the material for Waking Up inspired by her recent mission trip to India, Dillon exhibits wisdom and a spiritual maturity far beyond her years.
Waking Up opens with the lead single "The Kingdom." This song remains true to much of Dillon's earlier work but moves into new lyrical territory. "The Kingdom" is just one of many songs that shows Dillon forsaking materialism and searching for the things of God. The next track, "Come Find Me," embraces a similar theme while sounding entirely different than its predecessor. It's actually one of Waking Up's standout moments with Dillon's nearly raspy voice singing softly over a well-produced backing track that is tight enough to compete with any of the songs currently on Christian pop radio. Songs like these are what could help solidify this talented teen's future as one of the industry's leading ladies.
"Let Your Light Shine" sounds slightly reminiscent of Kathy Trocolli's "Go Light Your World" with it's gentle piano intro. This particular song is a great display of Dillon's maturity, showing she's unafraid to question God's grace and love but still expressing gratitude for His gifts. "Let Your Light Shine" even makes good use of a grand church choir in the later half of the song making this a true highlight track of Waking Up both musically and lyrically.
One of the most refreshing things about Bethany Dillon's music is the fact that she doesn't seem to ever buy into the typical musical cliches employed by so many of her young musical counterparts. She shies away from such trappings as tired lyrics, over-driven crunching guitars, or ridiculous amounts of programmed sounds. Her lyrics are honest and vulnerable; her music is soft and sophisticated. Other various tracks from Waking Up also do an excellent job of showcasing her ability to write an upbeat pop song (such as the cheerful title track or "Something There"), as well as create a moving ballad (including "Are You Sure" and the sweeping closing track "On Our Side").
A few years ago, Dillon sang how she wanted to be "Beautiful," then shortly after she seemed to be using her Imagination on her sophomore disc. Even though her earlier days left most music critics and fans breathless, this latest offering of Dillon's is sure to have everyone Waking Up to the work of this fine young artist.- Review date: 3/31/07, written by Lauren Summerford
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