Release Date: June 11th 2021
Reviewed by: Joshua Andre
- EveryTime I Cry
I don’t know how many times I can tell you all this- but personally in my own life, I have gravitated towards Christian music and inspirational music glorifying Jesus, and encouraging us in our walk with Jesus… simply because I’m a believer in Christ and I find that type of music most resonating to me. Also, it’s because it is speaking about a focus to eternity, and that we as believers have a much bigger perspective that those who are not- we have an eternal perspective thus hardships and heartache gain a much more transient meaning. Not to be flippant though, and to say that all hardships are immaterial in light of eternity… but when viewed through Jesus and everything He’s done for us; hard times aren’t this ‘woe is me, my life is over’ kind of thing, but rather something that God can use for us to grow as people and for us to grower closer to Him. Christian music was always uplifting, and there seemed to be no valid reason for me to venture out of my ‘comfort zone’ in terms of musical genres.
Yet it is mainly and predominantly only because of the blog series that my brother and I have been writing over the past year and a half (if you’re not sure which blog series I’m referring to, it’s this one, the series about the most influential artists of all time!) that I started to branch out into other musical genres. Sure, Christian music was still uplifting and encouraging, but so was mainstream music. And for a long time, I tried to explain away my love for mainstream music. Like maybe I resonated with certain mainstream artists because they were Christian, and I didn’t gravitate towards artists that were not Christian. Yet over the past year and a half I’ve found myself liking music from artists that weren’t even believers… and then I stopped trying to explain how God moved and worked. I wasn’t going to defend or argue as to why I felt that Christian music was supposed to be superior. Because what listening to a wider range of artists lately has taught me, is that encouragement and inspiration can come from any place. God can use anything, and even non-believers, to draw us closer to Him. Crazy, right?
Well now, during this pandemic and during lockdown, I’ve been inspired and encouraged by another artist. Amanda Ava Koci, known by her stage name Ava Max, released her self titled debut project Ava Max in September last year. She re-released it shortly after with “My Head And My Heart” added in as well; and boy let me tell you that this pop album is very, very hopeful and encouraging, as many themes and relevant topics are explored. Fast forward to now, and Ava has unveiled another radio friendly ‘banger’, with “EveryTime I Cry” musically sounding top-notch, as well as lyrically quite confronting and hopeful at the same time. Though I myself do not know Ava’s faith (or lack of), I feel it isn’t really relevant when assessing how resonating and impacting an album or a song is. For many of you who may have listened to Ava’s self-titled album, you may agree as to the impactful-ness and hopefulness and encouraging nature of this project… but for those who only listen to Christian music and don’t venture out much musically, like how I used to be; you can read my thoughts of Heaven And Hell here; and also our blog about Ava in the coming weeks.
“EveryTime I Cry” is really just about seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and every tear you shed, it makes you also appreciate the good times, and it makes you feel like, “Okay, I deserve to be here, I’ve gone through the struggles and I feel like I learned something.” I think the message of the song is super important for everybody going through hard times.
Simplistic lyrically yet effective also, Ava dives deep on this song, as we are presented with a melody that encourages us to feel, and to feel every emotion that we have. It’s a stigma that we as people, and particularly men, need to toughen up, to not show our emotions and ‘weaknesses’, and to power through it and shove your emotions down inside of you. Yet Ava flips this notion on its head, and declares that ‘…when the voices get loud, I’m turnin’ them down, feel good in my body forever and ever, when the tears start to fall, I’m catchin’ thеm all, and I know the future is bettеr, ’cause every time I cry, I get a little bit stronger, stronger, little bit stronger…’, and shows us that beign real and honest isn’t a weakness at all- in fact it’s a strength to feel sad, because it reminds us that we’re human. Growing up with Albanian refugees as parents, and being exposed to a wide variety of musical genres such as opera and pop, Ava’s debut album, and subsequent new single, is musically and sonically a breath of fresh air, as she marries many genres together and creates a musical and lyrical experience so unique and introspective.
Some would say that Ava Max is like the new Avril Lavigne. Or the new Lady Gaga, or the new Kesha, or the new Dua Lipa. But for me I’d say that while Ava may draw inspiration from these artists and more, Heaven & Hell and “EveryTime I Cry” both show us that Ava can rock out and dance to poppy numbers, yet her ultimate goal is to give lyrics for us all to ponder over and to dwell upon. Not that those other artists don’t do that… but Ava is her own person and not the next ____ (fill in the blank!). Sure these songs may be catchy and sure these songs will make you dance… but at the end of the day if these songs aren’t saying something meaningful and aren’t giving us advice on how to live in this world… then what’s the point? There’s only so many songs you can sing about partying and drugs and alcohol… and Ava reminds us that in a world where we are right now isolated and physically away from each other, we need uplifting and we need inspiration right now. So as we try to decipher the many meanings on songs like each of the 15 in Heaven & Hell, or as we debate as to whether Ava wants to tell us that it’s ok to cry all the time; let us remember that life is a journey full of mountain tops and valleys- and without the valley you can’t appreciate the mountain. Without the hard times you can never fully know and appreciate the good times; and Ava’s music, “EveryTime I Cry” included, explores this dichotomy of hating bad times but needing them too, quite well. Well done Ava, I can’t wait for hear what’s in store for you next!
RIYL: Avril Lavigne, Lady Gaga, Kylie Minogue, Kesha, Dua Lipa, Halsey, Bebe Rexha