Prime Cuts: Answers, How Could I Be Silent, Nothing to Hide
Overall Grade: 3/5
It's a challenge to ignore Caitie Hurst. She has such an engaging vocal presence that when she opens her mouth she commands our attention. Dynamic in the way she pours herself into each and every note, she sizzles with an overwhelming energy when the beat accelerates and she nuances with great affection when the piano decelerates the tempo. In short, Hurst demonstrates potential and given the right song and backing, she could easily become the singer's singer. And such a perception is by no means isolated. Hurst's current single and title cut "How Could I Be Silent" has been greeted with great enthusiasm as the song has zoomed up to the No. 2 spot on the CHR Indicator chart. Plus, the single currently stands at No. 4 on the Hot AC chart.
"How Could I Be Silent" is Hurst's debut album, consisting of 7 new songs, all written or co-written by Hurst. Working with producers Cody Fry (Ben Rector), Ground Control (Apollo LTD), Colby Wedgeworth (Jordan Feliz, Zach Williams), Justin Morgan (Audio Adrenaline), and Riley Friesen (Brandon Heath, Matt Hammitt), this record is packed with CCM radio-styled pop tunes. Tailor-made for radio is the title cut and single "How Could I Be Silent." Backgrounded by a J-Lo Latin-esque percussion with lots of delightful vocal swirls from Hurst, this pop-centric number has "hit" written all over.
Nevertheless, the best song on the set is not those shiny with a radio-sheen. Rather, it's the album's sole ballad "Answers." Deeply personal like the lament Psalms in the Bible, "Answers" is Hurst prayer to God, asking the Almighty why there are orphans when god is a good good father. And why there's cancer when God is the healer. Though the song provide no pet answers, but it avails the opportunity for us to be honest before God. "Nothing to Hide" is a tad more optimistic as Hurst wonders the meaning of grace in a tempo that is more upbeat.
However, despite a slew of producers who have CVs too luminous for the eyes, the rest of the album suffers from anonymity. Though songs like "Walkin' on the Water," "Signs," "Wanderer" and "Lights" do have important truths to articulate, they sound like any and every song out there on CCM radio. They are polished, upbeat and radio friendly, but they are also tediously homogeneous that it's challenging to draw out specifics. Hurst is a promising artist, but she is letdown by the songs. Yes, these songs may gain traction with radio. But will they gain traction over the passing of time?