Prime Cuts: Lord I Need You, Wonderful, Hallelujah
Joy Enriquez has choices in her hands. Married to pop and hip hop producer Rodney Jerkins who has been known to helm career records for Whitney Houston, Rihanna, Michael Jackson, Mariah Carey and others, Enriquez could have easily ridden on the magic carpet towards stardom. Moreover, Enriquez herself has tasted the glamour of providing the backing vocals for Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston's historic "Prince of Egypt" soundtrack hit single "When You Believe." Still more amazing is that Enriquez herself has had a hit record back in the year 2000. Pegged as the next Janet Jackson, she stirred quite a commotion on the charts with her single "Tell Me How You Feel." Though she has had another EP and various soundtrack cuts released, Enriquez was never in her own skin as far as secular pop is concerned.
Fast forward 15 years, she has finally made her choice. She has decided to pursue her calling as a Gospel music artist proclaiming the praises of her Savior instead. Released under how own Lifestyle Music Group, she's back with her first full-length album "The Call" in 15 years. As soon as she sinks her teeth into the first few notes of the album opener "O Happy Day," you know that she has made the right choice. While many a lesser artist would begin with a commercial banger lite on its Christian content, Enriquez goes into the deep end of her Gospel roots by offering an earth shaking rendition of the church hymn "O Happy Day." Never seguing in for any commercial glitz, this is a full-blown Gospel piece where Enriquez takes us to church---I mean a black Gospel church --- with the "hallelujahs" and the "amens" all thrown in.
Lest we fault Enriquez of nepotism, her 5-year-old daughter Heavenly Joy does have possess quite a range when she sings with mom on "Shine." For a little lady her age, she sure demonstrates potential. The buzz song here is definitely "Hallelujah," a track whose video has had already gone viral. Featuring violinist Lindsey Stirling and Gospel music guru Kirk Franklin, the song's greatest appeal is in its chorus. It is so catchy that it has the power to do circles around your psyche way after the music stops. Surprisingly great are also a couple of covers. First off, Enriquez does a soul-stirring version of Matt Maher's "Lord I Need You" and she does a jazzy-soul version of the hymn "Nothing But the Blood of Jesus" that is stunning.
"Walking on Water" starts off well with the warm acoustic sounds of the piano mixed together with soul-jamming beats, but the song gets far too dragged out that its melody becomes too nebulous towards the last third of the song. The same can be said of "70,000," whose titular is influenced by Jesus' command to forgive seventy times seven. However, not to be missed is "Wonderful." If there's a song that lives up to its titular, it's this. Fuelled by a disc beat and some fat swirling synth riffs, "Wonderful" is a great party song in honor of our Lord Jesus. At the end of the day, Enriquez sounds very much herself. She is comfortable, expressive, and as her name suggests joyful. She has indeed made the right choice in following her Master's call.
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