Reviewed by Alan & Angeline Chesters
When I recently had to make a train journey to Glasgow, the reading material I took with me included a review of this album, which fell through our letterbox the morning after I got back home. So, I'd learnt that the album title and the artist are the same person. Kendall Payne has an older sister called Jordan, who is a professional ballerina. There are 13 songs, written over the last two years by Kendall, some of them jointly with producers Ron Aniello and Glen Ballard. She doesn't seem to have been heralded onto the CCM scene in the manner of Jennifer Knapp or Sarah Masen, both of whom she's been likened to. Some of her style has also been compared to Alanis Morisette, but one of the things I like about her is her changes of style and ability to make each song different. She's aided in that by brilliant arrangements and excellent musicians. The album opens with the wonderful jangling guitar of "Closer To Myself", followed by the wittily cutting lyrics of "Supermodels" ("And in the end do you believe that beauty lies in what you see/Because if you do, then baby you've been deceived"). One of the slower tracks, "Honest", has a healing touch, as does the most personal song, "Fatherless At 14", from the view of a departed father to his daughter. "It's Not The Time" is from someone expecting an "unwanted" child and being bombarded with right and wrong opinions as to whether the child should continue life. Songs such as "On My Bones" and "Never Leave" show what Kendall lives and breathes. She makes a statement of who she is and where she's going in "Formerly Known As". "Modern Day Moses" says that we all have something to achieve and "Hollywood" is somewhere it could be achieved ("I've come to fight for mercy and take this angel torn"). Kendall writes her faith into her songs with a clarity and subtlety capable of reaching into and attracting the mainstream. This is probably the most surprisingly good album I've ever been given and, as I haven't seen or heard an interview with Kendall yet, I'm looking forward to the time when I do. I'd like to know more about how the album came together and, if this team stay together, they must have many more good songs within them and therefore more excellent albums to deliver.
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