Release Date: June 17th 2014
Reviewed by Joshua Andre
- Love Somebody
- All The Lights
- Play The Song
Releasing one of 2010’s most underrated albums Love Reality, indie pop CCM artist Charmaine, from Australia, has taken a sabbatical and hiatus from releasing new material, as she wrote new material, filmed a music video, took the time to be quiet in the presence of God, and also toured with Jonathan Thulin on his living room acoustic tours. Now, one of my favourite female vocalists currently, releases her brand new EP called Love Somebody, named after the long awaited and popular single that released in November 2013. And though the 4 songs is only a taster of what I believe could be Charmaine’s best album ever, it is enough for us to be excited of what comes next for this artist sure to be signed to a label soon (maybe Dream Records). Sounding similar musically and vocally to Rebecca St James, Plumb and Kerrie Roberts, Charmaine’s catchy, infectious, memorable sound as well as her encouraging and inspiring lyrics for people from all walks of life, makes me enjoy this EP all the more- it truly is a gem that should be savoured very day this summer/winter (depending on where you live!)
Opening the track list is the super-upbeat and bouncy synth led “Love Somebody”, which personally I think is a great way to start off the EP, given the universal appeal of the message to love somebody! Driven by catchy synth and keys, and with a remix-y vibe produced by Fred Williams, I am drawn into this danceable uplifting tune predominately through the lyrics, which is lyrically on of Charmaine’s best work. As the song doesn’t say ‘love your friends’ or ‘love your family, and is a bit more broad in its directive, Charmaine encourages us to love people the way that Jesus did, regardless of our preconceived ideas or views. Loving without judgment and calling people into the presence of God is what we are called to do, and lyrics like in the bridge, where Charmaine fervently and passionately gives thanks to God, that ‘…You’re the one that I adore, every single day it’ll be ok, even if I fall away, no I won’t be afraid of the storm, even in the rain, You’re my hideaway, tell me that You’re here to stay…’, gives us reason to share the gospel to everyone we meet, because of our own personal testimony! Well done Charmaine for a fantastic first song that sets the tone for the rest of the album.
Releasing “Love Somebody” as a single in November 2013, the other three songs are tracks recorded this year, each with a heartfelt and poignant message. “All The Lights” is sung from God’s perspective, and is a ballad of hope, security, confidence and promises, as we are presented with a song that encourages us to look around us at creation as Jesus is revealed in every intricacy and details, in all the lights. A song that uplifts us when we are feeling a sense of hopelessness, loneliness, unworthiness, brokenness, and every negative emotion that tells us that we’re not good enough; it is in the chorus that Charmaine gently reminds us that creation around us is proof that the breath we are breathing is purpose and meaning filled- that we are alive for a reason. As we ‘…walk on through the fire, run across the wire, follow every wonder…’, Charmaine ardently reassures us that Jesus’ promises that He will be right beside us in any circumstance, should give us motivation to change our outlook, and maybe liv life to the fullest and according to our purpose and passion. Sure to change lives, “All The Lights” segues into the fun, mainstream like pop melody “Play The Song”.
Driven by a strong synth and glockenspiel melody, that could be interpreted as a friend singing to another about the importance of them in their lives, “Play The Song” could be someone singing to their family or loved ones. Yet this seemingly unobtrusive track, in my opinion, could be viewed as a call and response- with Charmaine singing from God’s perspective in some parts and from our perspective in others, as we ask questions and God presents us with promises from His word. Ultimately to me the song describes how even listening to a mainstream pop song can bring us closer to God and can have a positive impact on us, yet tho beauty of the ambiguity here is that the song is what you want it to be, whatever you want so that you can be inspired. What is more clear cut and explicit is “Empire”, a dance pop remix type tune with piano and synth at the forefront (as well as electronic saxophone), where Charmaine uses imagery and metaphors describing her relationship with Jesus, and how she wants to show God’s love to everyone, and build Him up like an empire, so that all the world can see. As the album closer, Charmaine has definitely ended the short but sweet EP on a thoughtful note, as we eagerly anticipate her next project, hopefully releasing soon. Well done Charmaine for a solid, catchy and hopeful batch of songs.
What can I mention about this mini-album that I haven’t already? Well…nothing more, except praise Charmaine’s efforts some more. A near flawless return to song writing and recording, it’s only a matter of time before a major record deal comes calling. Until that time, however, if Charmaine keeps putting out albums like this, then I will be very happy, and recommend her music to everyone who will listen. With the only downside being that 4 songs is too short, I can only hope and pray that more new songs are just around the corner. Great job, Charmaine, you thoroughly deserve this moment where I give these songs my glowing recommendation to others!
3 songs to listen to: Love Somebody, Play The Song, Empire
RIYL: Plumb, Kerrie Roberts, Beckah Shae, Rebecca St James