Release Date: August 5th 2014
Reviewed by Joshua Andre
- Lucky Girl
- Trailside Road
- Young and Beautiful
- Weaker Mind
- White Fence
One of my favourite female vocalists last year was Lexi Elisha, who released her EP I Choose Love in August. To me, each one of the honest and inspiring six melodies on Lexi’s project highlighted that x-factor that I see in her, that sets her apart from female artists like Dara Maclean, Natalie Grant, Francesca Battistelli, Kari Jobe, Mandisa and Kerrie Roberts (even though each female vocalist I have heard and love are singing about messages that are both valid and motivational). The pop genre that was evident on the previous project was an element that I enjoyed, and that EP was probably the most enjoyable pop female vocalist album since Britt Nicole’s Gold. Now, this year, Lexi has traded in pop sensibilities to a more subdued, acoustic, grass roots and ballad-y sound, with the new mini-album Rope set to release this week on Noisetrade!
Though the music and divergence in genre may take some getting used to, both this upcoming release and the previous album definitely has enough variety musically and lyrically for her songs to be heard even on mainstream radio! Even though God isn’t mentioned here (like her previous work also!), Rope delves into many topics and relatable issues, and has enough content to chew on and ponder for many thorough listens. In her early 20’s, the depth of Lexi’s lyrics show me that she very genuine, and someone to look out for in the music industry in the coming years. From the upbeat piano pop song “Lucky Girl” to the final track, the thought provoking “White Fence”; Lexi’s poignant and refreshing musical and lyrical experience is a must buy (or at least warranting a listen on Spotify)- with her enthusiasm being very infectious, and her love for God as authentic as ever!
Opening the track list is the happy-go-lucky “Lucky Girl”, which explains how Lexi is a lucky girl, because of fortune and favour which follow her everywhere. Though not rooted in scripture, this bouncy, guitar led pop tune, was obviously written when Lexi was in a good place spiritually, emotionally and in every other facet during the past year, as this song is carefree and poses the question of whether the happy place we find ourselves in is attributed to luck or someone or something higher. It’s not an overt Christian song, but Lexi’s first song, a track that makes me dance, is a bright melody that sets the tone for the rest of the EP.
“Trailside Road”, pulling back the instruments and tempo a bit, and is nostalgic and sentimental for Lexi, as she contemplates about the intricacies, ups and downs of life. As the opening lyrics remind us that ‘…I have come down familiar roads, to console, but not to be consoled, I have lost more fights than I have not…’, Lexi shows us her most vulnerable side, as she sings about her home town and her attachment to it, against captivating glockenspiel and acoustic guitar drums. Again, this is a song that poses a question to us- this time of asking where our home is and whether our memories of it are fond; while this is thematically different to her previous albums where God is referenced, the song is still meaningful nevertheless and poignant- it ‘…means, by far, the most to me. In fact, it’s probably my favourite song that I’ve ever written it. It’s not conventional, it tells a story but ends in sort of an elusive way…’
The piano pop “Young And Beautiful”, similar to Britt Nicole’s “Gold” thematically, is a warning to young adults, especially teenage girls, that the pleasures that this world offers up ‘…isn’t the way to go, to feel young and beautiful…’ and to be fulfilled in life. While not offering up any alternatives as to how to build ourselves up, Lexi does sing with conviction, and maybe gives a hint of a testimony in the bridge, so that we all can receive inspiration and resolve to find inner beauty, strength and worth.
The remainder of the album speaks about a myriad of issues and relevant topics as well. While the title track, musically mysterious with haunting piano and synth driving the track, speaks about a broken and failed relationship, and is a warning from Lexi to single people to don’t be in relationships where both parties have different values, ethics, morals and beliefs in life; “Weaker Mind”, though having a weird title, exposes the addiction of pornography and women that some men have, and carries on the theme of longing to be in a healthy relationship one more step further, as Lexi sings about a possible personal experience or one of her friends or acquaintances. As Lexi emphatically declares that she will not sell her body to men, magazines, the sex trade and related activities, this eye opening conviction and proclamation indirectly makes us think about and dwell upon the people in other countries with no one to fight for them, forced into trafficking and the sex trade- this though makes me nearly cry. But maybe that’s the point after the uplifting first half of the album, to feel introspective.
The final song “White Fence”, a mid-tempo paced piano led ballad (with hand claps), similar in theme to Casting Crowns’ “American Dream”, talks about the American dream, about achieving the house, the car, the job, the perfect family, but further and deeper analysis shows us that the ‘dream’ that so many families want to obtain sometimes isn’t sustainable. The song explains that this is only a façade, as every family has its issues, even the ones who live in the ‘perfect’ area in the suburbs, and Lexi brilliant paints a picture of a mother with a young kid but with a husband who is always away. A fitting song to end a confronting and moving batch of songs; Lexi’s prowess as a songwriter is fully on display in these six tracks, of which some are the most personal and vulnerable of her career. Well done Lexi for baring your soul and for giving us much to ponder over.
Perfection, the unattainable dream, purity, self-worth, nostalgia, contentment, happiness…these things are on full display in these 20 minutes of Rope EP and Lexi Elisha has shown us that you don’t need to talk about God to have a great and powerful album. With all of the aforementioned topics all being relevant in today’s society, I think that this EP may be tough to swallow subject wise for many, but may be the healing and therapy that they need. It’s something to get used to, and personally it took a few listens for me to fully appreciate the themes in this mini-album, but I can assert, that Lexi’s integrity and creativity cannot be denied, and she shines through in these songs. It’s definitely plausible and likely that Lexi will propel into stardom and popularity in the near future…hopefully also grabbing the attention of a label. So, look out world, Lexi is coming, and hopefully bringing people to Christ in the process!
3 songs to listen to: Trailside Road, Young and Beautiful, White Fence
RIYL: Moriah Peters, Marie Miller, Dara Maclean, Jillian Edwards, The Civil Wars