Release Date: September 6th 2019
Reviewed by Joshua Andre
- i feel bad for you
- i don’t think we can be friends
- isn’t it harmless
- i think we should break up
- i miss you (interlude)
- i wasn’t enough for you
Signed to Gotee Records way back in 2016; singer/songwriter Hollyn unveiled her debut album One Way Conversations in 2017 (which we reviewed here!), containing the smash hit singles “Can’t Live Without” and “Love With Your Life”; as well as lesser known hits “In Awe” and “Lovely”. Though the album was poignant, emotional and honest; Hollyn’s subsequent singles weren’t as big as her first two. With radio silence from Hollyn until late last year, I assumed that maybe she’d be a one-album wonder. It’d be sad, but I would accept it, mainly because out of hundreds and hundreds of artists who record their debut album, only a few of them make it past album number 2 and onto the road to stardom. Perhaps the fame and the attention is a bit too much, but whatever the case, I naively thought that Hollyn may not release anything ever again. It wouldn’t be cool, but I’d eventually learn to live with it. Because that’s part of the music business right? Artists come, and artists go. However just this past week, Hollyn unveiled her brand new EP bye sad girl.- and boy is it an honest and vulnerable release. Dare I say it; I reckon it’s Hollyn’s most vulnerable release ever, and perhaps the most vulnerable album/EP of the year!
“…it breaks my heart to read these comments because it’s a complete misinterpretation of this project, me, and the heart of God. The goal is vulnerability. The goal is connectivity. The goal is HEALING. My response to these statements and ones like these would be… isn’t God in every aspect of our life? He is a God of process & God of hope. This project is my PROCESS towards inner healing. This project is God’s promise of HOPE spoken into my heart. If you, your friends, or family, struggle with mental health, emotional health, or trauma… I pray this project meets you right where you’re at. whatever your situation is. That it brings you encouragement to keep taking steps towards freedom. With the utmost humility and love, i ask you, instead of excluding people, invite them in. our job is to help people take steps towards truth…not to exclude them…” Let me say from the outset that bye sad girl. isn’t a ‘Christian’ album. There is no worshipping Jesus here, or singing about the Christian life. For all intents and purposes, you’d say that Hollyn has gone ‘mainstream’ for this release. Yet there’s something about this batch of songs that still tug at my heart and nonetheless create healthy discussion and conversation, as they challenge the status quo and bring about the explorations of topics that sometimes Christian music doesn’t really talk about. As mentioned in the above quote, Hollyn has squashed rumours that she’s no longer a Christian- and I find this notion and rumour preposterous. Because by that definition of not singing about Jesus- does that make Skillet, Needtobreathe and Switchfoot non-believers? No it doesn’t, and that goes the same for Hollyn.
On this EP, with quite a lot of the songs similar in theme- about relationships and the breakdown of relationships (sung in 6 different ways!)- Hollyn delves into the complexities about falling in love with the wrong person and the challenges it brings in figuring out the next step in what is right for you and your soul. No one should stay in a toxic relationship; and perhaps Hollyn is singing from experience, or maybe she isn’t. But whatever the case, I reckon it’s a bad thing to just dismiss these songs on the basis that Jesus isn’t sung about in them. Jesus can still work in them, and I believe He is; so let us sit back and travel into Hollyn’s mind, as she navigates how to detach from someone who isn’t good for her. Subtly reminding us all that Jesus is all that we need, Hollyn has taken courage and bravery to the nth degree, and she should be proud of this unique yet near-flawless effort to show us a different side to herself.
Sky is the limit for Hollyn (maybe in the mainstream, maybe not!), as we anticipate her next full-length album, which shouldn’t be too far away. While One Way Conversations was enjoyable, personally I reckon it wasn’t that groundbreaking nor memorable (sorry, Hollyn!); but bye sad girl. is a different kind of Hollyn that is definitely growing on me. If this is Hollyn’s start in the mainstream and if she carries onto minister to those who do not know Him; then that is fantastic. Perhaps Hollyn is going back to Christian music, and this release is just an exploration into relationships as a side project near and dear to her heart. Either way, bye said girl. is indeed Hollyn’s best thus far, and a standout in 2019! So…what are you waiting for guys? Check out this EP, enjoy listening, and remember that God speaks through anything! Yep, anything!
3 songs to listen to: isn’t it harmless, i think we should break up, i wasn’t enough for you
RIYL: TobyMac, Lecrae, Tauren Wells, V. Rose, HillaryJane, Riley Clemmons