Prime Cuts: Nothing Short of a Miracle, I Need Jesus, The Sun Will Rise Again
Overall Grade: 4/5
Becca Bradley has a striking crystalline voice that immediately jumps right out of the speakers with the album first few notes. Powerful, expressive and ladened with a heartfelt vulnerability, Bradley has what it takes to animate life into any song she tackles. Moreover, her worship cadence over her keyboard-led CCM pop will immediately gained affinity with fans of Darlene Zschech, Rita Springer and Steffany Gretziner. "Heaven Come Down" is the singer and songwriter's first full length album since her debut EP released three years ago. These eleven cuts, two of which are re-worked hymns, were meticulously handpicked by Bradley after much prayers and interaction with her fans.
The album starts off well with most upbeat title cut "Heaven Come Down." Harnessing the ethereal sounds of Micelle Tumes sliced with elongated electronic beats, "Heaven Come Down" is coterminous worshipful as well as "cool." "Nothing Short of a Miracle" has the word "hit" stamped all over it. A pop-centric ballad with a melody that rings in your ears after the music has stopped, this song is nothing short of a keeper. "Good Shepherd of My Soul" and "Holy Holy Holy" showcase the more worshipful side of Bradley. Of note is the latter: here Bradley re-works the hymn "Holy holy Holy" by surrounding it with new music yet still retaining the hymn's hook. This is a stellar example of how hymns can get a new lease of life without desecrating them.
The album's apogee is in the big ballads. Bradley, like the aforementioned Darlene Zschech, is at her finest when she soars over a heartfelt epic-sounding ballad. "The Sun will Rise Away" is a must-hear: here Bradley speaks of how God sometimes uses the trials of life to bring out his love and grace. What gives this song an "A "grade is the poetically rich words that hits right at the heart: There's never been a hill without a valley/There's never been a day without a night/Our shadows are the proof of the sunshine/Our pain reminds us we're still alive. "I Need Jesus" doesn't tail too far behind. A song of dependence on the Lord, "I Need Jesus" flourishes on the song's simplicity and earnestness.
However, as Bradley sings "there's never been a hill without a valley," there are some valley moments on the record. "Let My Love," "Invincible" and "Jealous" are by no means ropey. Yet, there's nothing that really jumps out at you on repeated listenings. They nicely blend into the pop sound of the record without leaving much impressions. Nevertheless, there are enough tracks here that mountain over these valley moments. Bradley has a voice that makes notes and words take on lives of their own. Do yourself a favour and let these songs animate into your companions in your walk with the Lord.