Prime Cuts: Legacy, One Name, New Eyes
Overall Grade: 4.5/5
It's difficult to fathom that "We Will Rise" is only Natasha Owens' third release. This is because she sing with a seasoned maturity (in the sonic passion of say Natalie Grant or Amy Perry) way beyond her years. And her lyrics are so Christ-centric and worship-focused that you would wish Amy Grant would embrace these days rather than singing about those nebulous inspirational swill that she is currently indulging in. Such a gravitas in both Owens' voice and in her lyrics come because Owens has been refined by the flames of suffering. Seven years ago, Natasha's father died suddenly at just 58 years old. While cleaning his guns as he had done countless times before, one misfired, placing a bullet in his chest. Ensuing depression set in, leaving Owens helpless in the face of her unbelievable tragedy. Through the healing of God and the encouragements of her husband and her church, she was healed of her pain. Thus, the aptly titled "We Will Rise" is her corollary testimony.
Those who have bought Owens' 2015 "No One But You" EP will find that all 5 of the songs from the set are represented here. Thus, "We Will Rise" essentially only has 5 new songs augmenting the 5 previously released ones. Though the album was released independently, the sonic touches of producer Ed Cash (Kari Jobe, Chris Tomlin) has redeemed this set from the indie work-in-progress underpinnings. Rather, what we get is a crisp and polished affair, one that stands hand and shoulders with the major releases out there.
With bright and engaging pop vibes, Ed Cash has given the album's lead single "I Am Loved" an engaging sheen that perfectly brings out Owens' radiant voice in a song that revels in God's unconditional love. Capturing the gist of her healing process is the soaring ballad "No One But You." Rather than making concessions that discount God's sovereignty, Owens rightfully attributes God as the one that turns her doubts into faith.
"Safe," on the other hand, is one of the album's weakest spot. This is one of those trite "me and Jesus" songs let down even more by its overtly individualistic lyrics with too much of a "me"-saturation. "Your Love Will" is more far more balanced but the melody tends to linger too long without much of a drive. Nevertheless, despite the trough, "One Name" and "Legacy" are the album's apexes. Worship leaders looking for songs that are Jesus-centric and powerful enough to induce the most tone deaf congregant to worship need to look no farther than "One Name." "Legacy" captures the heart of Jesus on the Sermon on Mount, when Owens challenges us to build our lives on the things that last rather than earthly transcend objects.
"New Eyes" finds Owens stepping out of the pop template to embrace some good old fashioned rock over an irresistibly catchy tune that speaks of the Spirit's transforming work in our lives. If you are feeling the blues and you want someone who has been through the brimstones of hell to offer some words of hope, look no farther than this record. This album is a balm for the sore heart: believable, comforting and so worshipful.