Release Date: September 9th 2014
Reviewed by: Jonathan Andre
- Better Days
- It’s Time
- Do It For Me
- Bread of Life
- Game’s Over
- First Love
- Who Caresit’
- Pay Off
- Fill Us (With Your Righteousness)
- Come Back
Some of you may remember Ayiesha Woods. Bursting onto the music scene with songs like “Big Enough” and “Happy”, this Long Island, New York native is now back with a new album It’s Time after a 5 year hiatus. While I myself frankly haven’t been listening too much of her music prior to this new 2014 album, what I have heard from this soul-pop singer is great, and a must if you enjoy artists like TobyMac, Shonlock or Christafari. With a comeback album, the Gotee Records alumni artist unveils 14 tracks of honesty, as she delves into pop, rock, reggae, praise and worship, soul, and even country; as we hear a message of time- or as what Ayiesha describes it- ‘This is My Existence’- living life to the full now rather than living a life full of worry, uncertainty and discouragement. It is great to see another artist making music independently rather than just giving up altogether, this new album is a perfect gift to anyone who loves a comeback album. With this album hopefully sparking and renewing Ayiesha’s music career, It’s Time gives a message of encouragement as we learn to live out our time with no regrets.
“Better Days”, track #1, begins with some musical similarity as this CCM/pop piano melody with Ayiesha’s soulful vocals, as we are reminded about better days- days where we enjoy the moment and don’t worry about issues about past or future circumstances. A song that’ll hopefully encourage us to put our trust in God to bring us these days we yearn for, but also give us comfort and confidence that these better days are in fact coming, Ayiesha’s vocals are at their best as we hear one of the most enthusiastic and emotive first songs from a comeback album since Paul Colman Trio’s Return. “Anyhow” brings in the funk and reggae as Ayiesha infuses Caribbean style music into a song that that encourages us to praise God, anyway we know. The light guitars, the slow swaying beat and Ayiesha declaring ‘…hallelujah, hallelujah, anyhow…’ is a reminder that God is good, even if the circumstances are not. Praising God no matter what it looks like- singing, dancing, kneeling, hands raised or not, is further evidence of our own free will in how we praise our Father, knowing that Christ loves us regardless of our circumstances or how we feel.
“Expecting” and “Game Over” are both below 3:30 minutes, yet each show the uniqueness in Ayiesha’s musical skill shown to listeners. Standing at 3:09, we are called to expect the unexpected in “Expecting”, with electronic keyboards and Ayiesha’s fervently passionate vocals a testament to how unexpected God is, and how we have to always expect He’s up to something we may not even be aware about or even comprehend. “Game Over” brings electronics back into the frame as a message of us being created in His image something we ought to know- that this life isn’t a game and what we do, say and how we love people can either bring them closer or further from Christ. A song that’ll hopefully make us realise that we are not playing games, but rather this is real life, Ayiesha also asserts her unique musical skill in “Pay Off”, a country style song about counting our blessings and believing God has something in store for us as we live our lives for Him, and “Comeback”, a pop melody sung to God, believing that He will come back for His children as we wait expectedly for the second coming of Christ our Lord.
From worship songs like “Everywhere”, a soul-piano pop finger clicking hand clapping melody that encourages us to believe the fact that ‘…Your glory’s everywhere…’, and the title track, a looping percussion light piano driven song encouraging us to make full use of our time here on Earth and realise that ‘…it is time to walk in victory, it is time for all the world to see, it is time now for you and me, it’s time…’; to “Do It For Me”, a CCM radio friendly piano pop melody that encourages us to step out of our comfort zones and do our activities for Christ with whom everything is possible, and “Bread of Life”, a reflective song that calls us all to delve deep into God’s presence as we are shown a powerful metaphor in God’s love and presence being our daily bread; Ayiesha continues to show us her versatility in music and style. And while a wide range of musical genres incorporated into the album can leave the listener confused as to what style the CD is, Ayiesha continues to stretch musical boundaries and stereotypes about what people consider music sung by African Americans ought to sound like.
With 14 tracks on the album, at times it can often seem like it is dragging a bit- and while it may have brought more people, who may have poorer concentration, in to listen to it if it were 12 tracks, Ayiesha still brings us song after song of heartfelt emotion and enthusiasm, even if some of the tracks seemingly blend in together. Despite this minor hiccup, Ayiesha brings forth themes of us realising that God is our first love and that ‘…it is You, only You…I’m back now to be with You…’ (“First Love”), us not caring about what the world would say when they realise who and what we believe in (“Who Cares”), and us declaring and praising out His name in a call-and-response Nicole C. Mullen meets Carman style song (“Fill Us (With Your Righteousness)”); all of which are great themes to ponder and to reflect upon. An artist who is truly one of the most versatile musically, these songs offer us a snapshot into what Ayiesha believes and longs for listeners to hear and experience when the listen to It’s Time.
To be honest, a new project from Ayiesha Woods was out of left field. With other artists gone by who have just slipped under the radar, like Lanae Hale, Jaci Velasquez, Rachael Lampa, Krystal Meyers and Nicole C. Mullen, Ayiesha’s return to music is a welcome one. With a soul/funk/pop atmosphere infused throughout her music, it is when we truly miss something for a while that we can truly appreciate it when it is right with us- and the music of Ayiesha is one of these things. A reminder than it is never too late for a comeback, It’s Time talks about us seizing our moments, and reminding us of using our days to share the gospel of Christ in every way imaginable and possible. Fans of TobyMac and the Diverse City, Jamie Grace, Out of Eden or The Katinas will love Ayiesha and her music!
3 songs to listen to: Fill Us, Better Days, Bread of Life
RIYL: TobyMac, Jamie Grace, Out of Eden, Christafari, The Katinas