Monday, March 30, 2009

Mandisa CD Review: Thank Goodness For Relentless Positivity

In times like these, sometimes all we need is a little relentless positivity.

Thank goodness Mandisa is here to help us out with that with her new CD, “Freedom.”

The great thing about Mandisa is she’s unashamed to be relentlessly positive. And why should she be? “Freedom” is even better than her debut, “True Beauty,” as she rarely hits a false note for the entire album…

The CD kick starts with the single, “My Deliverer” which begins the theme of freedom with the chorus “My deliverer/You set me free/Now I’m alive and I can live.” But that message comes with a great beat that will set your feet tapping.

That leads into my favorite track, “How Much” which has a very clever and irresistible hook.

Then it’s the first ballad of the CD, “He Is With You.” The lyrics of this one will hit home with everyone as Mandisa sings, “He is with you in the conference room/when the world is coming down on you/and your wife and kids don’t know you anymore.” There are very few artists that can do a soaring chorus like Mandisa as this one builds from a very quiet start.

Mandisa gets funky with the next track, “The Definition of Me” which features a rap from Blanca of Group 1 Crew.

Then it’s the unbelievably powerful ballad I can hear churches across America scrambling to get the track for, “Not Guilty.” Mandisa co-wrote this one with Matthew West and Sam Mizell. Just try to keep it together when she hits that chorus of “I know you/I love you/I gave my life to save you/Love paid the price for mercy/My verdict not guilty.”

Mandisa gets right back to the uptempo songs with “Leave It in the Valley” and “Victorious.” These two are probably the weakest of the CD, but that’s not saying much since even they will get those feet going.

“Broken Hallelujah” is another gorgeous ballad that starts out quiet and builds to a more restrained climax.

I was a little worried when I heard the beginning of “Freedom Song,” because I thought it was going to be a too over-the-top number, but it’s another great toe-tapper that combines the funky with the traditional.

Mandisa once again covers a Mary, Mary single with “Dance, Dance, Dance.” The song is okay, but I’m not really sure it fits with the rest of the songs on the CD.

The CD winds up on a great note, however, with another Mandisa co-write, “You Wouldn’t Cry (Andrew’s Song).” Mandisa’s voice rings crystal clear on the chorus of “Blue has never been bluer/True has never been truer.”

The great thing about the CD is that you get so caught up in the good music that you almost miss that you’re also getting a great message. But don’t be mistaken. The message is there and Mandisa is not ashamed to deliver it.

And you shouldn’t be ashamed to enjoy it…

If you’re looking for a positive message in these uncertain times, delivered by a beautiful voice with catchy beats, then this is the CD for you. I know a few friends who will be finding this one in their Easter baskets this year…

“Freedom” is available now…

Photo Credit: Sparrow Records