STYLE: Pop RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 142144-21693 LABEL: Curb 715187935921 FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1 RELEASE DATE: 2013-10-15
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Reviewed by Tony Cummings
Down the years Natalie has brought her legion of fans a wide variety of sounds, from inspirational ballads to punchy pop rock to snappy dance pop such as on 2010's 'Love Revolution'. This, Natalie's latest CCM smash, continues her eclecticism and even expands it. Who'd have thought of Natalie singing a banjo-driven country-tinged track and put it on the same album as an electro-pop floor filler? Such is the quality of Natalie's piercing voice that she wins over the listener whatever her choice of songs. And there are memorable songs scattered liberally throughout this album. "Closer To Your Heart" is as infectious a piece of teen pop as you're likely to hear while the self-written "This Is Love", roughly based on portions of the Prayer Of St Francis, building and building over layers of electric guitars is equally compelling. And there's a deft and surprising cover of independent band Hearts Of Saints' "For All Of Us". But the two best tracks are where Natalie adds a bit of country to her ever expanding musical armoury. "Born To Be" is a heart-stopping duet with Gary LeVox of mainstream country stars Rascal Flatts. It has a lyric which honestly admits those moments when "We have all been afraid, we have all run away from the light/Wanting more, we forget the love that we're created for." Gary's rich voice adds tremendously to the song's impact. Equally gripping is the mid-tempo "In The End" which fuses some nifty banjo playing with a poptastic vocal chorus. Natalie has stated that 'Hurricane' contains "the strongest songs I have recorded in a long time and are a true reflection of the hope I find in my faith. . . songs I am eager to deliver to audiences night after night. The best part of making the album was being reminded of the truth once again." No doubt there will be some hipster Christians or bigoted secularists falling over themselves to dismiss 'Hurricane' as bland fodder from the jaded Nashville CCM scene. Don't listen to them. This album is genuinely uplifting pop music of a high calibre.
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This record is full of new music that is positive, bright, pop and fresh, both musically and lyrically, which is almost the antithesis to how Natalie has felt for the last few years; it is the result of hope and faith.
Because even when the storm is raging, we have hope. Even when everything seems dark, Jesus keeps the light on. When our faith grows dim, His strength helps us to burn bright. These songs help to tell that truth in a fresh and positive way.