Capitol Records / Schoolboy Records
Release Date: August 14th 2020
Reviewed by: Joshua Andre
- Don’t Take Me Home
- Time Flies
For virtually all of my life (except for the last few years!), I’ve been listening to Christian music. And only Christian music. In the past, I had this widely misinformed perception that Christians should only listen to Christian music, and that anything else was me walking down the wide road and not living by what Jesus has in store for me. Yet my perception of mainstream music changed in general when I started my blog posts about music artists who I deem to be influential in the coming years. Tori Kelly, one of my favourite female artists (and one of my favourite solo artists), was one of the few mainstream artists, whom I blogged about, that has recently changed my whole perception of what type of music God can and often does use to draw people closer to himself. And that goes for anyone really- God can use anyone He wants to bring people to Himself- and that might be a hard thing to get your head around, but it’s true. Anyway, enough philosophical deep thinking for this post- now it’s time to dive into Tori’s latest EP Solitude, alright? While you can check out who Tori is all about in my blog instalment, as well as my review of her gospel album Hiding Place; last week Tori unveiled an all-new original EP, recorded entirely during quarantine. With the track list being a short but punchy 5 acoustic style melodies, we are introduced to a more intimate experience, and one of the most emotional, honest and vulnerable EP’s of 2020!
I’ve never been more thankful for my home studio than I have during this season of being quarantined. In some ways, it felt like I was going back to my roots, when I would be in my room, making songs and posting covers on YouTube. A lot of change has happened since my last album, so it felt great to just freely write what was on my heart and be inspired by different stories. I had so much fun creating this EP and I’m excited to share this new chapter of my music.
For one reason or another, I never managed to review Inspired By True Events, the second full length album from Tori. It was one of those albums which we wanted to review but never got around to it. However I jumped at the chance to voice my opinion here- given how much I have enjoyed Tori’s previous original material, and especially Hiding Place; and the results of the EP remind me that Tori is a force to be reckoned with in the mainstream music market- and the fact that she’s going to change the world someday with her music. Opening track “Value” is a captivating R&B track where Tori is essentially dissecting a broken relationship, yet relays to her ex that she still has value whether she is with him or not. A track that confronts us and asks us about whether we believe that we’re valuable and worthy even if we are single; “Don’t Take Me Home” is next, and is a light electric guitar led ballad, where Tori professes her love for her husband to the point where she doesn’t want him to take her home but to forever go out on dates. It’s a sappy, emotional type of track where Tori is secure in her identity and love for her husband… and it’s encouraging to us also as we strive to find a love like that as well.
The acoustic guitar driven “Time Flies”, originally by Drake, has Tori half singing and half rapping, yet making this track her own and putting her unique pop/R&B spin on it, as we all realise that time does indeed fly, and that it never stops for anyone; while the penultimate track on the EP is one of my favourites- “Unbothered” reminds me of Matthew 6:25-34, about the notion that we don’t have to worry about the future, or the present… because God’s got the world in His hands. The EP then ends with a track of gratitude- the acoustic guitar driven “Glad”, where Tori expresses thanks to her husband, and lets him know that she’s glad she is his wife and glad that she met him. With the song diving deep into the concept of thanking people who mean the most to us, we are encouraged to pay it forward and be kind to those around us- as it will really go a long way, especially if we don’t know who needs our kind words and actions or not!
Tori Kelly surprised us all in a good way with her pop album Unbreakable Smile in 2015, and even more with the gospel/worship Hiding Place in 2018. Inspired By True Events was a sleeper hit, which I actually slept on (and now it’s time for me to change that fact!); and Tori has continued with the music successes with Solitude EP . With a wide range of genres that Tori has experimented with in the past, it’s anybody’s guess as to what future albums will sound like. But with such a rich lyrical meaning in these songs, I reckon this project isn’t to be missed! So…what are you waiting for? Even if you aren’t a fan of Tori (yet!), check out Solitude EP, and let us know your thoughts. And well done, Tori- I’m more than interested to hear what God has in store for you next!
3 songs to listen to: Value, Time Flies, Unbothered
RIYL: 1GN, Cimorelli, Selena Gomez, Britt Nicole, Taylor Swift, Lecrae, Tauren Wells, Hollyn, Alessia Cara