Release Date: November 3rd 2017
Reviewed by: Jonathan Andre
Francesca Battstelli– Greatest Hits: The First Ten Years (iTunes/Amazon mp3)
- I’m Letting Go
- Free To Be Me
- It’s Your Life
- Beautiful, Beautiful
- You’re Here
- This Is The Stuff
- Angel By Your Side
- Strangely Dim
- Write Your Story
- He Knows Your Name
- Holy Spirit
- If We’re Honest
- Giants Fall
- There’s No Other Name (new recording)
- Messiah (new Christmas recording)
Francesca Battistelli is a household name. No, seriously, she is. An only child from her hometown of New York City, Francesca has delivered some of CCM’s most heartfelt and compelling songs over the decade long career in music thus far. Starting off with releasing her debut album My Paper Heart in 2008 under Fervent Records (well, that will be her second, if you don’t include her indie album Just a Breath in 2004), Francesca has shown to us her lyrical and musical prowess throughout the many album releases and chart-topping songs since her thrusting into the limelight at age 23. Now with 3 albums, 1 Christmas album, an extended album and a lot of radio singles later, we are met with what I reckon is one of the most popular female CCM artists ever since Amy Grant and Rebecca St. James back in the day. From the encouraging ‘Beautiful, Beautiful’, and the poignant ‘Free to be Me’, to the ever encouraging ‘This is the Stuff’, the originally written Christmas melody ‘You’re Here’ and ‘Strangely Dim’, loosely inspired by ‘Turn Your Eyes’; Francesca’s music has reached far and wide, evident through songs that have touched our hearts over the years. Now with Fervent Records releasing a 15 song compilation of the best of the best (inclusive of a newly recorded studio track, and a new Christmas song), we can’t help but wonder and anticipate- is there new Francesca music around the corner?
Gathering success and admiration throughout her 10 year career on Fervent Records thus far; Francesca’s presence in the CCM industry is certainly felt. One of today’s most popular CCM artists, along with Chris Tomlin, TobyMac, Casting Crowns, MercyMe and Tenth Avenue North to name a few; this New Yorker with Italian background has unveiled a collection that may seem a little redundant if you are an avid Francesca Battistelli music fan (like myself), and therefore will only be applicable for any newer fans of her music who want to hear one album full of her radio singles, but nevertheless, an album like this is a reminder of just how far and wide her reach within the CCM industry and her reachability to fans, really is. Francesca’s presence within a male-dominated music industry is certainly a role model for many listeners and fans all over the world, and alongside artists like Meredith Andrews, Natalie Grant, Kari Jobe and Britt Nicole, Francesca has continued to give us great music with a power-pop and worshipful influence.
So let’s look at the album shall we? The facts- this 15 track album, that spans her first 10 years in the industry, features six No. 1 radio hits, three top 5 hits, three top 10’s and two new studio recordings. And while the compilation will only be available on November 3rd, one of the two newly recorded tracks we’ve heard before- ‘There’s No Other Name’ was previously on Bethel Music’s Starlight back in April, the other, ‘Messiah’, is a new Christmas melody- which is definitely not available until November. So still, I figured, I can write a review of this album now, right? Most people have heard most of the songs anyway, right? And so, will this album be a good purchase? In all honesty, probably not. Especially now in the realm of technology, we have access to youtube, spotify, etc. and can hear most, if not all, of Francesca’s discography so far, so when it finally comes down to this new compilation, we’ve heard at least 13 tracks out of the 15. And looking at the track list, the usual subjects are there- ‘This is the Stuff’, ‘It’s Your Life’, ‘Free to Be Me’, ‘I’m Letting Go’, ‘You’re Here’, ‘Strangely Dim’, ‘Write Your Story’, ‘Holy Spirit’, ‘Giants Fall’…you get the picture. Every radio single Francesca has released is practically on this album…well, except for songs like ‘Heaven Everywhere’, ‘Motion of Mercy’, ‘When the Crazy Kicks In’, ‘The Christmas Song’ and ‘Be Born in Me’. Nevertheless, this 15 track album is a great snapshot of Francesca and her music, and gives us a glimpse into what she is creating for us next. While she has just given birth to her 4th child, we may never know when her new album releases, but know this- when it does come, it’ll be great. Here’s to us hoping and anticipating her album, all the while listening to newer artists, between now and whenever Francesca decides to release new music again. One of CCM’s most honest and poignant songwriters and performers, I myself am excited for whatever Francesca does in the future. And so, this album may not be for me, but is a must purchase if you’ve never heard of Francesca’s music, or if you want to have a one stop CD of all her hits. Regardless, this release has its place. Come the beginning of November, we shall see what happens. Kudos to Francesca for a great career thus far. Here’s to another 10 years to whatever God has in store!
Francesca’s infectious personality and fun musical arrangements added to the serious and relatable lyrical content is enough for her music to be as popular as it currently is. A great maturity and lyrical development since her debut will certainly continue in the future, and with her 3rd album If We’re Honest being my favourites of hers ever, this sets the bar high for her fourth album (whenever that may come), and already has me eagerly waiting with anticipation and excitement. And thus from her inception into the Christian market at age 22 in early 2008, this New Yorker with an Italian heritage and a mother of four has given us a great album to listen to if you are into greatest hits albums, and certain to impact whomever listens, even if Francesca’s music isn’t necessarily their first choice of music style. With each track standing out musically and lyrically, Francesca’s fresh and relevant musical perspective is translated throughout each song, all the while paying homage to the musical roots of her past- a piano-pop musical undertone with a prominence on vocal delivery, providing us with a well-rounded album to listen to as the weeks and months of 2017 continue to roll on. Well done Francesca for your music career til now, let’s listen to this album and reminisce on some of the standout songs within the last 10 years!
5 songs to listen to: Free To Be Me, This Is The Stuff, Write Your Story, Giants Fall, There’s No Other Name
RIYL: Natalie Grant, Britt Nicole, Mandisa, Jamie Grace, Love & The Outcome