Release Date: August 14th 2020
Reviewed by: Joshua Andre
- Red Sangria
- Mood Swings
- Déjà Vu
- Gimmie More
For a long, long time, Christian music was all that I listened to. Not that it’s a bad thing- during my formative years, listening only to Carman and Delirious? provided me with the foundation for my faith in Jesus. Last year though, with the inception of Jon’s blog series about influential artists of all time, and my own contribution for the series with 50 up and coming future influential artists- I decided to branch out into other genres. What I discovered was that mainstream music isn’t this big bad thing that I originally envisioned- in fact I firmly believe that God can use mainstream music to glorify Himself… as somewhat blasphemous and heretical as it sounds. Thus ever since last year I have been expanding my palate (just read my recent reviews from this year alone here, and you can see that I’ve been reviewing albums, EP’s and songs from mainstream artists like albums from Kelsea Ballerini, Gabby Barrett, Tori Kelly, Lindsay Ell, Colony house, Pentatonix, Delta Goodrem, Lauren Alaina, Hailee Steinfeld, Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato, Echosmith and Little Mix!)… and now it’s time to venture out into the mainstream market yet again. Pop artist Jordin Sparks, famous for her hit songs “One Step At A Time”, “Tattoo” and “Battlefield”, is back after a 5 year hiatus, having just released Sounds Like Me EP. Now I’m not the biggest fan of Jordin’s- I do know a few songs and I can appreciate her career- however as soon as I heard the gospel influenced lead single “Unknown”, I knew that I just had to review this project. So here I am. Reviewing the EP- and let me say that this unique set of songs is such a joy to listen to; and has me anticipating Jordin’s brand new full length album, whenever that may be!
Opening the track list is the stirring, inspiring and hopeful “Unknown”. Driven by captivating keys and synth, Jordin eloquently recounts that ‘…I’m tryna find my place, keep my pace, make my waves, but I can’t push the weight, in my strength, I need your grace…’, paying homage to her Christian faith and upbringing. As Jordin fervently asks God to see her through the unknown parts of life, we are presented with a quasi-spiritual/semi-worship song that is as vertical and praiseworthy as many other worship songs this year; and as Jordin desperately cries out to Jesus, we are encouraged to do the same and rely on Him for our every provision and every need. The rest of the EP presents to us some more inspiring, hopeful and eclectic melodies… and I’m all here for it!
Lead single “Red Sangria” is a fun, poppy, danceable number, which basically is a party, live-in-the-moment type of song, as Jordin ardently highlights the fact that she’s back with a vengeance and that even with the new and updated sounds, she’ll still be on many listeners’ playlists; while the sensual and flirtatious “Mood Swings” isn’t my cup of tea, however is a vulnerable song about Jordin’s love for her husband. The emotional piano only ballad “Halftime” speaks about a couple in the midst of a fight, and one person’s plea to the other to stay in the relationship and work it out (which is essentially what any couple should strive to do first when in this situation!), while the carefree, acoustic themed laid back “Déjà Vu” eloquently relays that the love that Jordin feels for her husband is like déjà vu. It’s pretty easy to listen to this song, as we are met with a woman who is totally secure in her relationship with her husband. The EP ender is a mid tempo danceable pop tune, as Jordin sings in “Gimmie More” about her want for more of the physical attention of her husband.
Now that I completely have 100% control of what comes out…I was like, ‘You know what? Let’s just go for whatever sounds good. That’s basically what I wanted to do. And all of the songs on the EP kind of reflect that. Each one of these songs, I feel like, has a piece of me and you can really tell that it’s me. If it charts, it’s a bonus. If it sells a million copies, it’s a bonus. I don’t do it for those things. I do the music for the people and to be able to tell those stories and to share my heart with people
On the whole, Jordin Sparks’ Sounds Like Me is fun, comforting and inspiring to listen to. With standouts being “Unknown” and “Halftime”; probably the only nit-pick is that the track listing is too short! However, I am anticipating Jordin’s full-length album whenever that arrives… and as of now, all we can do is press repeat, and then revisit Jordin’s previous discography. If you’re a skeptic though and are apprehensive about whether Jordin is going to preach Jesus or not, you would be disappointed save for “Unknown”, however Jordin is being real here and is showing all sides of herself in what is right now her most honest work to date. So what are you all waiting for? Let’s dive into Jordin Sparks, and be amazed that after the hiatus of 5 years, she can sounds this great vocally! Well done Jordin for one of the year’s most hopeful and inspiring EP’s!
3 songs to listen to: Unknown, Halftime, Déjà Vu
RIYL: Demi Lovato, Kelly Clarkson, Jamie Grace, Tori Kelly, Everlife, Kerrie Roberts, Little Mix, Echosmith, Bethany Dillon