STYLE: Pop RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 4299-4592 LABEL: Sparrow SPD51828 FORMAT: CD Album RRP: £1.99
Reviewed by Tony Cummings
One of the surprise CCM smashes of 2000 was the self-titled debut by ZOEgirl (in fact it was the most successful debut in Sparrow Records' 25 year history, selling over 300,000). Cynics would say they were slickly marketed at a time when the American Church was crying out for a sanctified version of Britney, et al. But that rather misses the point that just about all teen pop is a stylised musical confection with its musical elements - fulsome harmonies, switched leads, hummable hooks and bright, bubbly production put to songs that merge pop, R&B and dance elements. Here, Chrissy Conway, Kristin Swinford and Alisa Girard make considerable improvement on their debut thanks to some excellent production from Tedd T and catchy songs, some co-written by the girls themselves. Lyrics include biblical takes on dating, self image and personal evangelism while Chrissy Conway's exploration on "Forever 17" of a devastating event in her hometown - the death of a teenager at the hands of a drunk driver - is a moving reflection on the fragility of life. Similarly, Kristin Swinford's "Plain" speaks with empathy to girls brought down by the magazine-model standards of beauty. The R&B bass line on "Nick Of Time" and the Euro dance-tinged "Even If" will both get the feet moving while the pop dance bubbler "Ordinary Day" will sure be a hit on Cross Rhythms radio. Maybe a couple too many ballads but apart from that this is biblical teen pop of high quality.
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