Reviewed by Matthew Cordle
Recording three albums by the age of 21 is no mean feat and, with 'Tapestry' building on the sound of 'Embraced' and garnering good reviews, there might have been a temptation to continue in the same vein. Instead, 'Focus' marks a change of tack for Holly; still poppy, if not more so, with a cleaner, tighter, more stripped-back sound, less electric and more acoustic. Holly has a sweet-sounding voice reminiscent of Nichole Nordeman and Lene Marlin. Continuing to demonstrate a mature songwriting style, she has co-written all the songs to ask one question of the listener, "What is your focus?" in the chaos of life. Along with a refreshingly clear presentation of the Gospel message in the insert notes, Holly reflects on subjects such as the constancy of God in "Constant", the need to return to a God-obsession in "Me And You", the lie that the world could ever make mankind "Satisfied", and the assurance that "His grace is all I need" in "Grace For All". I really can't pick out a best track, but will highlight the bouncy "Through My Father's Eyes" which answers the lies of society's definition of personal worth with "he changed my life by changing my mind. . .with his Spirit alive in me I'm finding beauty for the first time, looking through my Father's eyes". A very important message, particularly for young people in this day and age. Holly states that "God's grace is not just a word. It's something that really changes everything we do," and this message suffuses the entire CD. Impeccably produced, this is a thoroughly modern pop sound conveying a thoroughly ancient message.
The opinions expressed in this article are
not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed
views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may
not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a
Interested in reviewing music? Find out
|The third release from Washington-born Holly Starr.|
Since her previous CD Tapestry was released in 2011, Holly Starr has been travelling vigorously, ministering in schools, churches and conferences across the country. Co-written with Dove-award-winner Rusty Varenkamp, the title track teaches that activity does not have to cease to permit focus on God. Instead we should focus in the middle of everything, during the chaos of everyday life.
A fresh new acoustic pop sound produced by Chris Stevens (Tobymac), David Garcia and Chuck Butler.