Yancy Ministries/Elevate Entertainment
Release Date: February 10th 2015
Reviewed by Joshua Andre
- Super Wonderful
- Praise the Lord Every Day (feat. Chris Lockwood)
- Taste and See
- My God Is Number One
- Stop and Go
- I Love You Lord
- Lord I Thank You (feat. Jim Wideman)
- There Are Promises
- Joyful Noise
- Gonna Serve (feat. Erskin Anavitarte)
- I Will Pray
- The Bunny Song (feat. Jim Wideman)
- It’s A Happy Day
- Best Present Ever
- La, La, La, Hey, Hey, Hey (iTunes only)
- Hosanna Rock Remix (iTunes only)
Yancy has been involved in the Christian music industry for at least the past ten years, and has toured extensively with CCM’s biggest names, including Newsboys, Plumb, Sonicflood, Nichole Nordeman and Mutemath, as well as co-writing Avalon’s hit “I Don’t Want To Go”, and Jaci Velasquez’s “Something Beautiful”. Her heart for children’s ministry, as evidence from her ‘kid ministry based’ music, has been influenced by her younger years as a pastor’s kid, and Yancy has decided that the place that God wants her to move into is children’s music (like Aussie singer/songwriter Colin Buchanan). Countless albums, with various musical leanings from rock to pop, flowed out, from the albums Rock’N’Happy Heart, Loud And Clear, Stars Guitars And Megaphone Dreams, to her most recent album Jesus Music Box that released in March 2013; and all of them predominately focused for children and young teenagers. Also, Yancy branched out into acoustic worship, in an intimate and personal album titled Roots For The Journey, where hymns were re-recorded and slower ballads were introduced.
Now, back again with her new kids album Little Praise Party: Taste And See; Yancy is showing us a mix of both worlds, as there are upbeat, accessible and easy to learn melodies for the kids, as well as more subdued, reflective anthems for the adults. While not necessarily the most recognisable, popular or promoted artist within the Christian music circle, Yancy’s strong and honest heart for Jesus has always been present and the same no matter what she is recording. With the result of this new album being quite extraordinary in how catchy it is and enjoyable despite it being a ‘kids’ album; Yancy’s unique and courageous album is a must-purchase for anyone who has loved her music before and has also enjoyed her laid-back musically simple yet rewarding and soothing songs rooted in Biblical truths about Christ. Will this album be as good as Brandon Heath’s No Turning Back? Let’s see, shall we?
It’s probably an odd thing seeing a kid’s album being reviewed on this site. However no matter which way you look at it, Little Praise Party: Taste And See is an enjoyable listen, and reveals our inner kid. Though the music is simplistic and aimed at a young audience, the themes and eternal truths behind the songs are more layered and deep, resulting in an album worthy of multiple listens so that we can fully grasp and understand the unending love of God for us.
“Super Wonderful” starts off the track list, and is a fun, groovy, upbeat and inspired guitar led melody, similar to North Point Kids and Hillsong Young and Free, and has Yancy authoritatively proclaiming that we have a ‘…super big, super strong, super wonderful God…’. Full of clichés and cheesiness, complete with a kid’s choir near the end of the track, we are introduced to the heart of someone dedicating her career to young children and their salvation, and that is admirable and something for Yancy to be proud of.
Musically, Yancy packs a punch in every song, and is trying out quite a lot of genres within the front half of the album. “Praise The Lord Everyday”, sung with Chris Lockwood, is littered with synth, guitars and remix effects as Yancy reminds us in this EDM melody to look to God in every circumstance, praising Him no matter what is happening in our lives as He is faithful. The title track “Taste And See” is slowed down a bit and is driven by the ukulele as well as handclaps, while Yancy ardently and poignantly describes the fruits, animals and the rest of creation that God made for our enjoyment, and also points out that we can ‘…taste and see that the Lord is good, so good…’.
“My God Is Number One”, “Obey” and “Stop And Go” follow, and each are simplistic in lyrics (to be expected) yet still impacting and hopefully stirring as well. Yancy fervently reminds us in the midst of 80’s synth and guitar that we can jump up for joy because our God is sovereign over all (“My God Is Number One”); eloquently highlights that whenever God tells us something we need to stop and listen to Him carefully and then go and complete the task (“Stop And Listen”); and also prayerfully expresses that ‘…obedience is the right thing to do, the Bible tells me and you…’ in the mid tempo guitar led ballad (“Obey”). And in each of these three melodies, it is evident that she is having fun, and I can’t help but be in awe of the joy we are experiencing from listening to these songs, even if they are directed to those not in our age group. Driven by the acoustic guitar, “I Love You Lord” is probably the only well-known song here, and Yancy tackles this hymn with professionalism and aplomb, as she harkens back to the genre explored on Roots For The Journey; but while this song is the odd one out musically, thematically it fits right in, as we are met with a song that praises God for who He is, something that is important to Yancy in her heart.
“Lord I Thank You”, featuring Yancy’s father Jim Wideman, explores the theme of our thankfulness and gratefulness towards God, against a country/bluegrass backdrop, somewhat akin to Carman’s “Jesus Is The Way”, while Jim also is featured on the silly but confronting “The Bunny Song”, also country like in genre; in which Jim sings in the persona of a bunny trying to set the record straight and tell us that Easter is about Jesus’ death and resurrection on the cross. Yancy’s father is a great singer and has such a lively and joyful personality that the album is only enhanced with him present in these tracks, and I can’t help but be amazed by how much he brings to the album, both in his heart for Jesus and his experience in the church as a children’s pastor.
The other song sung with a guest vocalist is “Gonna Serve”, an out of the box remix-y type dance themed track similar to Planetshakers, encouraging us all to serve Jesus and ‘…my friends, my family and my world…’. With Erskin Anavitarte joining Yancy in raps and providing a similar role to TobyMac or Manwell from Group 1 Crew, this danceable, exciting ball of fun wrapped up in 2 and a half minutes is probably just as powerful and impacting (objectively speaking) as any other song released in 2015, yep even I Am They’s “From The Day”! The 2 minute acoustic guitar driven ballad “There Are Promises” is the cheesiest song on the album, with plenty of children singing as backing vocals, and Yancy singing out actions as well. However the message remains simple, easy to understand and nevertheless poignant; that we can believe God’s promises as it is written in the Bible. Quite powerful stuff, right?
The motivational songs continue with the heartfelt piano ballad “Joyful Noise”, with brass instruments added in near the end for diversity, where Yancy proclaims that she will make a joyful noise and praise Jesus because He is God; and with the more contemplative guitar led mesmerising laid back tune “I Will Pray”, highlighting that we can pray to God anytime we want to, as He is here with us all the time. Though these songs and others can sound cliché, Yancy has poured her heart and soul into her music, Wrapping up the album is the epic 80’s and 90’s synth led electronic dance tune and radio friendly song “It’s A Happy Day”, which exclaims that ‘…Jesus is alive, it’s a happy day, let’s have a party and celebrate…’, and the Christmas themed original song “Best Present Ever”, depicting how Jesus is the best present ever as He was born into this world on Christmas Day, and that we can bring our thanks and gratitude to God because of this fact. And with that, Yancy should be proud of this release, as though on the surface it seems like Little Praise Party: Taste And See is just a kid’s album, a deeper listen reveals much, much more, and a strategic batch of songs revealing some of the most revelatory notions about God and our relationship with Him!
Yancy’s Little Praise Party: Taste And See is unlike any kid’s album she’s ever recorded; and it’s a good thing she can surprise us by refusing to be labelled and placed in a box. No doubt her strength continues to be in recording music for children and young teens, and this project supports this fact, yet her foray into acoustic worship in 2013 has given Yancy licence to be more creative in her albums musically, touching and impacting more lives in the process. Sky’s the limit for Yancy’s music in the future. And I’m sure wherever she goes will be Holy Spirit anointed. Well done for an enjoyable album, that probably on the surface is standard and expected but is from left field when you look a bit deeper. Yet is needed in the CCM industry that time and time again releases albums with similar themes and music. I can’t wait to see what God has in store for Yancy next!
4 songs to listen to: Taste And See, I Love You Lord, Lord I Thank You, I Will Pray
RIYL: Jaci Velasquez, Rebecca St. James, Moriah Peters, ZOEgirl