Release Date: October 30th 2015
Reviewed by: Joshua Andre
- Fairy Tale Ending
- Love Shaped Heart
- Take A Broken Heart feat Derek Minor
- Bottom To The Top
Previously releasing her self-titled debut and sophomore album Forever After in 2011 and 2014 respectively, as well as a deluxe edition of her debut album in 2013; CCM/pop/hip-hop vocalist V. Rose has now signed to Inpop Records. An artist who wears her heart on her sleeve, and is emotional, honest, vulnerable and relatable in her lyrics, diverse music and current themes, V has delivered a passionate, impacting and encouraging label debut EP, titled Hearts Up, featuring 4 short but punchy melodies, one sung with Derek Minor. With her sound not really changing that drastically from when she was attached to Clear Sight Music; V, who rose to fame prior to her albums from being a guest vocal on many of Flame’s songs, is sure to soar and rise to fame from these four songs, and I definitely encourage you all to check out her music if you haven’t before! V’s full length Inpop Records label debut album is slated for release in 2016 sometime, but until then, let’s dive in and see how she has made the transition from an indie to a major label.
Opening the EP is the explosive, upbeat and bouncy “Fairy Tale Ending”, driven by synth and groovy electric guitars. One of the catchiest songs on the EP, and of the year, V passionately and fervently describes her relationship with God through metaphors, reiterating that life with God is better than any ending on any fairy tale, that ‘…right here with You is where I’m gonna stay, they can try to, but can’t take you away…’. Implying that every day is amazing with God on our side, regardless if circumstances dictate otherwise; V’s enthusiasm in this brilliant EP opener, and bubbly optimism and joy is thoroughly contagious, as I smile and tap my toes. Inpop Records have signed a winner, and you only need to listen to the first track to understand why!
Thankfully, the other three melodies on this short but impacting EP live up to the lofty heights presented by the strong opener. The emphatic first single “Love Shaped Heart” is a mid-tempo inspirational keys led ballad, where V ardently outlines that we all have worth in Jesus, and that how we see ourselves right now (either dictated through our circumstances or on our mood) doesn’t need to be how we view ourselves in the future. Highlighting that we all or beautiful and perfect in God’s eyes, V encourages us to ‘…just let it go, go, cause you’re worth more than you know, let the world see who you are cause I can tell you have a love shaped heart; so let it flow, you’re beautiful so let it show, feel the fire from the spark cause I can tell you have a love shaped heart…’-a refrain and chorus bound to bring healing and reassurance to all and any who listen to this motivational melody. While not explicitly mentioning Jesus (probably to bring in listeners from all life experiences and walks of faith); song #2 builds upon song #1 in terms of theme of living in the moment with Jesus and giving out hearts wholeheartedly to Him so that we can live life and live it to the fullest, and the final two tracks only cement this overarching theme as well.
The penultimate song on the EP is the gospel infused synth led electronic dance mid-tempo melody “Take A Broken Heart”, again utilising the theme of surrendering fully to Jesus, has V declaring that God can take her broken heart away and replace it with something better aka Jesus’ love and unconditional acceptance. While this song is ‘split in 2 parts’ (with the first half being in the verse/chorus/verse/chorus mould and the second half being more experimental), props go to V for her guts and determination in doing something different and stepping out of her comfort zone. Kudos to Derek Minor for inspiring and powerful backing and guest vocals as well.
Ending the EP as quickly as it began, “Bottom To The Top” is a semi-autobiographical big booming epic grandiose synth driven anthem outlining God’s faithfulness and promise over her life, as she entered into the music industry, and was presented with a chance to influence people’s lives- God’s calling on her life. It’s interesting to hear an artist speak or sing about their own journey, and V. Rose accomplishes this subject with aplomb and professionalism, to end a EP filled with catchy hooks, heartfelt content and hopeful advice as we live the authentic Christian life.
Changing labels may have meant that V. Rose needed to change her sound- one of the aspects that made her unique, as she encapsulated pop, CCM, rap, dance, and almost everything else in between (but not metal!). But this EP on Inpop Records has proven quite the contrary, with the style almost beign identical to previous records, which is a nice familiarity as V. Rose continues to bring her vibrant and unique brand of music to the world. I’m hoping and guessing that V. Rose’s full length debut drops in 2016, but until then, is Hearts UP something that you all should listen to? Yep, it definitely is, if only so that we can marvel at what an exquisite singer and songwriter V is! Look out world, V is coming, taking it all by storm- these 15 minutes or so of pure pop CCM goodness is proof that she will be a star now and in the many years to come!
3 songs to listen to: Fairy Tale Ending, Love Shaped Heart, Bottom To The Top
RIYL: Britt Nicole, Group 1 Crew, Flame, TobyMac, Lecrae