Eleven Productions LLC
Release Date: March 20th 2020
Reviewed by: Jonathan Andre
- Never Enough (feat. James Charles)
- Sorry Not Sorry / Give Your Heart a Break / Heart Attack / Neon Lights / Skyscraper / This Is Me / Get Back (feat. James Charles)
- Without Me / Cry Me A River
- Treat You Better / Fallin’ All In You
- You Belong With Me / All Too Well / Love Story / Our Song / Mean / We Are Never Getting Back Together / I Knew You Were Trouble
- You Say
- Sucker (Acoustic)
- Medley: Happier / Happier (Acoustic)
- Kill This Love / Woman Like Me (Acoustic)
- Me! (Acoustic)
- Cool / Burnin’ Up / Lovebug / S.O.S. / Mandy (Acoustic)
- If I Can’t Have You (Acoustic)
- Ocean Eyes (feat. LaurDIY) [Piano Version]
- God Only Knows (Acoustic)
- Easier (feat. James Charles) [Acoustic]
- Want U Back (feat. Gorenc)
- Never Really Over (Acoustic)
- When The Party’s Over
- Someone You Loved (Acoustic)
- Mary Did You Know (Acapella)
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 during 2016/17.
And so here we are in 2020, upon the heels of a great 2018 and 2019 musically. 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’) all released throughout 2018, while 2019 saw the unveiling of a collaboration with fellow youtuber and rising star Kurt Hugo Schnieder in the cover of Ed Sheeran’s ‘I Don’t Care’, alongside another collaboration with folk-rock duo Pomplamoose for their cover of PINK’s ‘Walk Me Home’. Band members Lisa and Lauren Cimorelli decided to release solo side-projects during the 2018-19 period- Lisa unveiling a slew of singles from 2018 onward (inclusive of songs like ‘Unloved’, ‘Goodbye’, ‘Italy’, ‘Florida’, ‘Back to Me’ and ‘I Don’t Deserve It’), and Lauren releasing her first EP in the middle of 2019, an album in which we reviewed for the site here.
As we approach nearly half-way through 2020 (it’s already May!); we see another unveiling that Cimorelli have imparted to us- Best of 2019; 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 (in reviews of Sad Girls Club, BEST OF 2010/11, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, Alive to name a few) , 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 (as of 2020 though, youngest sister Dani Cimorelli- now Dani Calleiro through marriage, has left the band). 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 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 not too long ago (season 1 is available in full on their youtube podcast website, season 2 onwards, every odd episode is on youtube, while everything is available on patreon); Christina, Katherine, Lisa, Amy, Lauren and Dani, are indeed changing the world with their heartfelt music and the ability for such a band of 5 sisters (6 prior to 2020…which means that all through Best of 2019, there were six creating these songs!) 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 on their own, in whatever capacity that they consider their solo career- as a side project, or something to undertake after their time in the band- I know that both Lisa and Lauren are doing both their solo material and their band aspirations at once, while I’m not sure what Dani is doing since leaving the band in January 2020!
And so now we have Best of 2019– not an original album, but this compilation of 20 songs (2 less than the track listing on Best of 2018, and 7 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 2019 is no different. And though I’m sure some of these songs present on Best of 2019 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- I can say at the top of my head that ‘Without Me’, originally by pop singer Halsey, has a few swear words in the original, while ‘Woman Like Me’, originally by British band Little Mix, also has a few expletive words here and there as well. While many die-hard fans of the original songs may find these little 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 2019, amounting to 20 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 Amazon and listen right away). This collection of 20 songs are a snapshot of the popular songs of 2019- 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 2019- Taylor Swift’s ‘ME’, Jonas Brothers’ comeback radio hit ‘Sucker’, Halsey’s ‘Without Me’, Lauren Daigle’s big crossover mainstream radio hit ‘You Say’, for KING AND COUNTRY’s ‘God Only Knows’, Shawn Mendes’ ‘If I Can’t Have You’, up-and-coming artist Lewis Calpadi’s chart-topping song ‘Someone You Loved’ and Katy Perry’s long-awaited radio single ‘Never Really Over’; are all present on Best of 2019. Cimorelli have also revealed to us mashups- songs consisting of whole-artist-discographies, or songs relating to another type of theme- inclusive here on Best of 2019 is a Demi Lovato medley, a Jonas Brothers medley, a medley of the song ‘Happier’ (by Ed Sheeran and Marshmallow + Bastille), a Shawn Mendes mashup (of his two famous songs ‘Treat You Better’ and ‘Fallin’ All in You’), alongside a Taylor Swift medley (of all her older songs from pre-RED). All of these songs are sung with fervent passion and seamless transitioning between the songs- these sisters even recorded their own version of ‘Never Enough’, quite possibly one of the standout performances and songs from 2017’s The Greatest Showman, while the six sisters also placed their own spin on ‘When the Party’s Over’, from arguably one of mainstream music’s most popular new artist in years, Billie Eilish. 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 2019 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 years ahead. Already having a catalogue of 3 full length albums (Up At Night, Alive, Sad Girls Club), 2 Christmas compilations (The Christmas Collection, Christmas Lights), alongside 1 mixtape (Hearts on Fire) and 7 EPs (Cimorelli, Cimfam EP, Believe It EP, Made in America EP, Renegade, I Love you or Whatever, Here’s to Us: The Wedding Songs); 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 2019; 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 2019 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; as well as Best of 2018 and 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 go back and watch The Cimorelli Podcast: Season 2 and Season 3 alongside covers of songs in 2020, in preparation for Best of 2020 next year, as well as any other original material there is as the year progresses!
5 songs to listen to: You Say, Someone You Loved, Sucker, Never Enough, Happier/Happier
RIYL: BarlowGirl, Rachel Platten, 1GN, Carmen Justice, Jamie Grace, Royal Tailor, Britt Nicole, Taylor Swift, Alessia Cara