Release Date: August 30th 2019
Reviewed by Joshua Andre
- Amor Real (Real Love)
- Preguntas (What If)
- Quebrantado (Shattered)
- Entrego Todo (feat. Redimi2) (Give It All)
- Sube Tu Bandera (Raise Your Flag)
Back when they were active, Group 1 Crew was one of the most inventive and musically daring and unique CCM/pop/rap groups over the past decade. I never really connected with them right from the outset, however it was the band’s third album Outta Space Love that won me over as a fan. The first album I ever heard from the band from start to finish; I was very impressed, with songs like “Let’s Go”, “Need Your Love”, “Please Don’t Let Me Go” and the title track all being highlights. Since then I have been avidly following the band and all of its members, including their member changes- Pablo left in 2012 and Blanca left in 2014, while original member Manwell started up a podcast and released a solo album.
Now a solo artist, Blanca released her debut self-titled album in 2015 after being in the group since the band’s inception. Blanca’s first release, complete with her distinct soulful and captivating voice, blended together with a myriad of genres (inclusive of reggae, pop, CCM, r&b, gospel, soul and many, many others), and also comprising her singles “Who I Am”, “Greater Is He”, “Not Backing Drum”, “Echo” and “Different Drum”; still having listeners singing along with the catchy beats and relevant lyrics. If you want to read a review of Blanca’s debut album that we posted on this site, you can do so right here. So, while it had been about a couple of years since Blanca released anything new, she did unveil her sophomore album Shattered last year (and you can read that review over here!). Now only a year has passed since the album- you’d think that Blanca would be milking all of her singles until whoever knows how long- because after all, that’s what happens in the CCM industry, am I right? Not so- as Quebrantado officially released about a couple of weeks ago. A Spanish EP and containing some of her biggest hits from Shattered (inclusive of an unknown song “Raise Your Flag”- can anyone find the English version of the track?), we are blessed to hear Blanca continuing to shine a light for Jesus, ministering to her Spanish brothers and sisters in Christ. As Blanca continues to grace the world with her exquisite bi-lingual skills, we are presented with near-flawless representations of four of her most honest and personal hits on Shattered. And the Spanish version of “Raise Your Flag” sounds so good- I’m literally racking my brain out as how to find the original recording. Perhaps the English version isn’t sung by Blanca?
For some, the fact that Group 1 Crew have totally rebranded (as in split, and now Manwell is releasing music in the mainstream!) and now Blanca is creating solo music which is stylistically different on the whole than the rap that Group 1 Crew was famous and popular for; would be a bitter pill to swallow. But in my opinion, Blanca’s second album Shattered, in particular the title track, “Real Love”, “Heaven” and “How Much More”, is something to be celebrated as it marks the beginning of a new chapter (genre change or genre expansion?), with plenty of God moments and a thoroughly inspiring message. Quebrantado continues to firm up Blanca’s dominance in CCM whereby females are scarce- and no doubt Blanca will definitely be successful on many radio stations! Fans of Beckah Shae, Britt Nicole and TobyMac will love this new project, as well lovers of Spanish artists like Christine D’Clario and Julissa; as we let us sit back and marvel at Blanca’s stellar batch of Spanish songs!
3 songs to listen to: Preguntas, Quebrantado, Sube Tu Bandera
RIYL: Tasha Cobbs-Leonard, TobyMac, Kirk Franklin, Sarah Reeves, Tedashii, Andy Mineo, Derek Minor, Hollyn