Release Date: September 1st 2017
Reviewed by: Jonathan Andre
You know when you hear an artist and you think, ‘Gee, they sound exactly like someone else, and for some reason or another, you could actually hear the other person singing the song instead of the one that is supposed to be singing?’ Sound confusing enough? Let me just clarify…listening to this new song from newcomer to the CCM market Tori Harper, and you could be forgiven to think that this was actually a song by CCM veteran Holly Starr. That’s now eerily and scarily similar their voices really are. But no, Holly didn’t record this song and is not singing it. In fact, new artist Tori Harper wrote ‘Joy’ and sung it out of a season of anything but joy. With such honesty and transparency, ‘Joy’ invites us all to seek out the joy of the Lord and His peace He so freely gives, as this song is as catchy as ever, pretty much the most catchy song within the last few months of this year so far. Standing at a radio friendly length of 3:39, Tori Harper’s introduction into a music industry subset that is equally as fulfilling as it is competitive, I’m sure this song will continue to bring her far as we are ready to see what the Lord has in store for her. And if ‘Joy’ is any indication, then Tori has a very bright future, reminding us all that it is our joy and love we receive from God that defines the circumstance we’re in, rather than the feelings we feel each day!
Joy is rarely discussed. Happiness is discussed and sung about. So is love in all its facets. But joy? Maybe because we as people find it difficult to describe. Or maybe we subconsciously settle for ‘happiness’ and ‘love’ in more of a fleeting way rather than the joy that comes from the Lord which is much more permanent. We ought to remember that our feelings fail and what can be thought of as love one moment can be just an infatuation the next. Joy is more firmly rooted in the beauty of Jesus and what we can see in the Word of God and in the world that continuously points back to Him. And therefore this song from Tori is as much fun-filled as it is needed in society. Because for us to have joy in our hearts is to be in a constant state of peace, comfort, happiness and a contented nature, regardless of what is happening around us. We are reminded that joy comes from having a secure identity, and as this song progresses in this joyous pop-driven musical atmosphere, I am able to sing aloud with Tori, that ‘…Your joy is greater than a thousand sorrows and Your love will conquer all of my tomorrows, it fills my heart, the sound of Your song, and now I’m dancing all day long, I love to feel Your joy…’
This song, though sounding like any other CCM melody that I have come across in my listening throughout 2017, is much more real and raw as I read about the story behind the track and how it applies to Tori in her life. As she speaks of herself, ‘…You look at the mirror every day, so I write the truth on my mirror; but also, I put it in my songs. That’s something really key to who I am…It can be difficult for someone who’s not in the Word every day to remember what God promises us about our circumstances. Through the good and through the bad, He’s with us. He’s not promising that we’re not going to have trials or we’re not going to have issues, but He does promise that He’s going to be with us right through those things; and in the end, He’s going to use that somehow for good and for His glory…’ And though Tori herself struggled a lot with depression during her teenage years, it has been a firm rooting and plating into the joy of the Lord that has allowed God to work through Tori and to use her circumstance for the better, or as Tori herself says it, ‘…it wasn’t until that turning point that I really started to understand who God was. He’s all-powerful and He’s holy, but He’s also intimate and He’s kind and He’s compassionate and He’s in the details…’ ‘Joy’ is a song to hear whenever we want to continuously affirm the Lord’s joy and peace in our hearts, or for anyone who is struggling with life, which is pretty much everyone. Tori Harper, while young and sounding exactly like Holly Starr (which in the short term can be a bad thing, but hopefully as the months go by, people can hear the uniqueness in her songs and hopefully differentiate her from Holly, yet another artist that is seriously underrated!), has a lot of potential, with ‘Joy’ leading the way. It is when we are rooted firmly in Christ and His love that we can truly live an abundant life, and ‘Joy’ can hopefully encourage us all on this ever-winding journey. Kudos to Tori for such a catchy song, can’t wait to the full length album whenever it comes!
RIYL: Britt Nicole, Love & The Outcome, Holly Starr, pureNRG, Cimorelli