Eleven Productions LLC
Release Date: May 15th 2019
Reviewed by: Jonathan Andre
- Somebody That I Used to Know
- It’s Gonna Be Me/Cry Me a River/Mirrors/Not a Bad Thing/Can’t Stop The Feeling
- Remember Me
- Un Poco Loco
- Never Be The Same
- Finesse (Parody)
- I Can Only Imagine/What a Beautiful Name
- Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)
- Tell Me You Love Me/Skyscraper/Sober/Stone Cold/Father/Warrior/Don’t Forget/Remember December
- Reckless Love
- My Story
- This is Me/A Million Dreams/Never Enough/Rewrite the Stars/The Greatest Show
- One Last Time/Into You/Dangerous Woman/The Way/No Tears Left To Cry/Problem
- The Middle
- Nice For What/Friends/Scrubs
- Friends/Wolves (Jelena Mashup)
- No Tears Left To Cry
- One Direction Medley
- God’s Plan
Cimorelli need no introduction, aside from the fact that this all-sister girl group is to be listened to by anyone who loves music…period. These Cimorelli sisters originally from California (but now residing in Nashville, Tennessee), have carved up a name for themselves when it comes to popular groups in and amongst the Youtube scene, and while this group of devoted young Christians are influencing the younger generation (through their many covers and original material they release at various points of the year via Youtube), it has been their transparency and consistency to provide content to us all on a weekly basis that give us an inside look into their lives as artists and influencers that currently make these young women arguably one of my favourite bands at the moment. With the band already unveiling to us 10 EPs as well as 3 albums all since their rise to stardom way back in 2011; Christina, Katherine, Lisa, Amy, Lauren and Dani Cimorelli have reminded us that to be influential and impacting doesn’t have to require a label. In fact, often the artists that think outside the box and take the most impressive and calculated risks, inspiring and encouraging millions of listeners through their heartfelt music, are the independent artists, the ones that aren’t necessarily on-the-radar. Cimorelli is one of these artists, and a band that I thoroughly respect and admire ever since becoming a fan of theirs around a few years ago.
And so here we are in 2019- upon the heels of their pop-relationship/summer EP I Love You Or Whatever, their wedding album Here’s To Us (consisting of a myriad of covers and original material to commemorate and celebrate eldest sister Christina’s wedding), as well as their Christmas EP Christmas Lights (not to mention the release of originally written singles ‘Thirst For Life’, ‘New Year, New Me’ and ‘Single on Valentine’s Day’ throughout the year as well!).
As we approach nearly half-way through 2019; we see another unveiling that Cimorelli have imparted to us- Best of 2018, essentially a covers album that compiles songs released throughout the year where Cimorelli showcase some of the biggest mainstream songs of the year; and place their own spin on them. And because I’ve said a lot about Cimorelli’s background as a band in reviews past (reviews of Sad Girls Club, BEST OF 2010/11, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, Alive), to write yet another background of a band may seem a little redundant. What I will say is this- Cimorelli and me listening to their music throughout the last few years has increased my interest and piqued my curiosity for mainstream music- as I now know that mainstream music isn’t as ‘bad’ or ‘evil’ as many, if you will, ‘fundamentalist Christians’ say. In fact, and this could be considered ‘heretical’ by some, God can even use the most ‘mainstream’ song, full of swearing and everything else, to bring people who are seeking closer to Himself. And I truly believe that. And so, Cimorelli are doing just that with their music. They are indeed very passionate and fervent about their own personal faith, every one of these 6 sisters. But in a technical sense, Cimorelli is not a Christian band. Just like how in bands like Switchfoot, needtobreathe or Skillet, each of the band members have an on-fire-for-God faith, but their music influences and impacts more of the mainstream arena more than anything else. Enter Cimorelli into that group as well!
From releasing their first debut full length album Up at Night in 2016, which was heavily country-style and relationship focused, as well as releasing a quasi-worship/motivational album Alive at the end of 2016, to their most recent full-length album Sad Girls Club, which is very much a pop-infused ‘life’ album; Cimorelli cannot be placed in a box, quite literally. Their recent EPs I Love You Or Whatever and Here’s to Us paid great homage to pop songs that had a summer-y goodness, as well as wedding and love songs; respectively. Musically, their styles can shift between pop, country, radio friendly and even inspirational and worshipful as their discography shows; which is why I am asserting my claim, that Cimorelli and the music that they deliver, be it covers or original material, are some of the most unique that I’ve heard in a long time- with such great harmonies from all the 6 sisters in the band, we have been blessed to hear what I reckon is one of mainstream music’s (and Christian music as well) best kept secrets…until now, of course. As the band has unveiled to us cover songs and original songs throughout the years, alongside inspirational videos as well as their very own podcast released just not too long ago; Christina, Katherine, Lisa, Amy, Lauren and Dani, are indeed changing the world with their heartfelt music and the ability for such a band of 6 sisters to deliver a real, genuine comrade, sibling bond and friendship when it comes to delivering music that can be as much fun-filled as it is emotive and hard-hitting. Needless to say, Cimorelli, whether recording their own original material or their covers, give everything their all, as evidenced in all the videos that can be seen on their youtube page. The fact that Cimorelli have been able to bridge the gap so cleverly between mainstream and Christian music, makes me appreciate and admire these young women, all of which have a fast-growing and respectable career in front of them, be it as a band together or even, shudder to think, solo, if one person in the group decides to venture out on their own (most recently, siblings Lauren Cimorelli and Lisa Cimorelli have both unveiled solo songs, though both have said they have no intention at the moment to have a solo career- the songs unveiled are just side projects of theirs, whilst still in the group as well!).
And so now we have Best of 2018– not an original album, but this compilation of 22 songs (5 less than their longest compilation album- 27 on their Best of 2017!) are all covers…and good covers too. Not that I’ve heard many of the originals though (then again, maybe I’ve heard some original songs here and there), but the point still remains- that if I didn’t know that these songs where in fact covers, I’d initially would’ve thought that the band would’ve written these songs themselves- that’s how professionally done and recorded these songs really are. The band itself have always prided themselves in delivering quality content for the whole family to enjoy and this new album Best of 2018 is no different. And though I’m sure some of these songs present on Best of 2018 have explicit lyrics in the original recordings, what Cimorelli have cleverly done is rework the songs that need to be, showcasing them with family-friendly lyrics, at times even re-writing the whole song to show a more appropriate melody (‘Finesse’ was so expletive ridden, that this new version by Cimorelli is indeed a parody, in fact a new song altogether!). While many die-hard fans of the original songs may find these alterations on the compilation to be a little dis-heartening, let me remind you, that Cimorelli, though not an official Christian band, all have members that are strong in their Christian faith. And so, if they are changing the lyrics for whatever reason, then that is ok. Some of their audience and target market are teens and young adults (both girls and boys, but…mainly girls), and so, the band’s influence amongst the younger generation into what is positive, hopeful and encouraging ought to reflect in these covers as well- hence the alteration of lyrics that don’t have to be said in order for the impact and meaning to still be conveyed!
So what can I say about Best of 2018, amounting to 22 tracks worth? Just that if you are a fan of Cimorelli’s music, a fan of mainstream music over the years, a fan of the band’s arrangements of popular pop songs in previous Best Of albums, and have been a fan of Cimorelli for years, then stop whatever you are doing now and check out this music compilation on Spotify (or if you are the paying type, purchase it quickly on iTunes and listen right away). This collection of 22 songs are a snapshot of Cimorelli and the songs that charted in 2018, many of these have been sung in homes around the world, throughout last year as well. A must have for anyone who has been wanting to hear something different compared to whatever original version we may have heard on the radio; we have a glimpse into the songs and artists that have been on the radio a lot during 2018- Drake’s ‘God Plan’, Post Malone’s ‘Stay’, Ariana Grande’s ‘No Tears Left To Cry’, Maren Morris’s breakout hit ‘The Middle’, Cory Asbury’s chart-topping song and all-round favourable worship hit ‘Reckless Love’, ‘Shallow’, from the movie A Star is Born starring Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper, not to mention ‘My Story’ from model and breakout singer Loren Gray, as well as the parody of ‘Finesse’, originally recorded by R&B artist Bruno Mars; are all present on Best of 2018. Cimorelli have also revealed to us mashups- songs consisting of whole-artist-discographies- inclusive here of ‘One Direction Medley’, ‘Ariana Grande Medley’, ‘Justin Timberlake Medley’ and ‘Demi Lovato Medley’, all of which are sung with fervent passion and seamless transitioning between the songs. The 6 sisters even did a mashup of songs from one of the greatest musicals in modern movie history, The Greatest Showman! Many of these songs have been big either on social media or on mainstream radio in years past, and songs that I, if I hadn’t heard of Cimorelli, may not have actively looked and heard these songs. Which gives rise to this- that Cimorelli and their ability to transform a song and make it their own will have tremendous impact on whomever hears their music and wants to branch out into other music depending on the songs they cover.
Best of 2018 is an album of covers, but it is in the delivery of the songs and the ability of these six sisters to take songs that aren’t their own and place a ‘Cimorelli’ stamp on it, that I reckon will allow the band to continue to new heights in the upcoming months and even years ahead. Already having a catalogue of 3 full length albums, 2 Christmas compilations, alongside 1 mixtape and 6 EPs, Cimorelli and their commitment to delivering quality music, be it covers or originals, has taught me that there is a wide variety of music out there at my grasp, and ‘mainstream’ music isn’t that ‘bad’ or even ‘inferior’ to Christian music. It’s just different. And that’s ok. In fact, God can indeed speak through anything, even a song that wasn’t necessarily written with Jesus at the forefront. Mainstream music can encourage, and Cimorelli has shown us, myself especially, that mainstream songs, even popular ones like those included on Best of 2018, can in fact help us on our journey of life, and tell us more about ourselves and God in the whole process of this crazy period from birth to death, called an exciting adventure the Lord is calling us all out to participate in.
My musical tastes have been broadened because of Cimorelli, and for that I am thankful and grateful. Music is the universal language of the soul, and as these 6 sisters continue to deliver harmonies and melodies as emotive and poignant as they have been for years, then the world will be a better place because of it. Best of 2018 is not just for anyone who loves current radio friendly pop music. It is for people who love music, full stop. Cimorelli are underrated, and hopefully with this compilation release, alongside their most recent EPs Here’s To Us and I Love You Or Whatever; we can see the journey of how a little youtube cover band has been transformed into a band that is influencing many young teenagers and young adults (especially teen girls) around the world to this day. Well done Cimorelli for this compilation release, can’t wait to watch episodes of The Cimorelli Podcast: Season 2, alongside covers of songs in 2019 in preparation for the Best of 2019 release next year, alongside any other original songs/EP/album they release as the year progresses!
5 songs to listen to: Reckless Love, Somebody I Used to Know, The Middle, Shallow, Finesse (Parody)
RIYL: BarlowGirl, Rachel Platten, Sara Bareilles, 1GN, Carmen Justice, Jamie Grace, Plumb