Prime Cuts: The Way God Sees (Featuring Mike Weaver), The Fire, God is Love (Featuring All Sons and Daughters)
This is Ginny Owens' loudest, boldest, and the most creative album. Ever since Owens' debut album "Without Condition" in 1999, Owens has had always been known for her signature CCM piano-pop. With radio hits such as "If You Want Me to," "I Am" "Free," and "I Wanna Be Moved," Owens has been awarded a lofty pedestal as some of the genre's greats such as Sara Groves, JJ Heller, and Natalie Grant. For her ninth studio album and her first independent release (released on her own Chick Power Music with the Fuel Music distribution), she has let all scaffolds fall. Instead of being restrained by her usual CCM pop, she has embraced all influences including EDM, folk, and even accapella, Even the number of duet or harmony partners has increased. Never on a Ginny Owens' record have we seen as many as six of her peers singing in duet or in harmony vocals with her.
Arguably the "must-hear" track on this album is "The Fire." Undergirded by an Adele-esque piano based pop, "The Fire" bucks the trend that begs God to deliver us from our trials so that we can be shiny and happy people. Rather, taking Scripture passages (like 1 Peter 4:12, Acts 5:41) to heart, the song gives exposition of how the fires of life can be where we meet God. When Owens sings "There is hope, I am not alone in the fire" you can feel such earnestness in her voice that you can't help but be pulverized. "The Way God Sees" reminds us of Isaiah's exhortation that God's ways are not our ways --- a much needed reminder. Further, the song is so catchy that she actually doesn't really need Big Daddy Weave's Mike Weaver's vocal presence.
"The Loudest Voice" is where Owens incorporates some elongated EDM beats. But fans need not fear: Owens has not migrated to Meghan Trainor land. "The Loudest Voice" is still flourished with Owens' trademark melody and thoughtful lyrics. "Love Looks Beautiful" (featuring Ellie Holcomb) has a shuffling R&B backbeat where Ellie Holcomb's vocal presence (like Weaver's) is immaterial. In fact, the two ladies sound so similar, you can't tell the difference between them. Not sure why, but Owens has decided to re-recorded two of her former hits: "Wonderful Wonder" and "If You Want Me To." Both get a more up-to-date sound with a more 3 dimensional effect that is welcomingly engaging.
The album opens and closes with "God is Love." The ending version which is a tad longer is an ear-opener. Singing accapella with All Sons and Daughters harmonizing, "God is Love" sounds like you are in heaven surrounded by a bevvy of angelic voices heralding in unison the transcendent truth, "God is love." This could be the closest we could ever get to hear heavenly worship on this side of life. Overall, "Love Be the Loudest" finds Owens at her creative best. Each song is unique and carefully crafted and Owens shows she is not confined by style or genre.