Wednesday, October 5, 2011

JJ Heller: Deeper Review

JJ Heller meant to release Deeper two years ago. However, after recording this project, JJ Heller’s 2008 release Painted Red took off when “Your Hands” was featured on the TV show ”So You Think You Can Dance?” The release of Deeper was postponed, after which JJ retracked several of the songs for her critically acclaimed 2010 release When I’m With You. But now it’s finally here – JJ Heller’s fourth studio album Deeper, a twelve-track acoustic album. Featuring the original, acoustic versions of five tracks from When I’m With You, four tracks recorded back in 2009, and three brand new tracks, JJ tackles family life, as well as letting God have control in our life, showing off her polished song-writing skills.

The country-sounding “I Get to Be the One” opens up Deeper, actually speaking to JJ’s daughter Nora born on September 2nd, 2011. JJ speaks of being “the lucky one” who gets to raise and watch the child grow up. Next, she covers the 1934 classic “The Very Though of You.” JJ’s remarkable vocals were absolutely perfect for this cover, sounding very classic and soft.

It’s ”When I’m With You” written to JJ’s first daughter Lucy, where we hear a perfect combination of acoustic guitars, JJ’s serene vocals, and wonderful backing vocals as well. Also, “In the End” based on Ecclesiastes, speaks of the vanity of life, and how we seem to have forgotten how to wait for better things.

The radio single “Control,” easily my favorite track from JJ Heller’s Deeper project, speaks of letting go of control and letting God heal our hurt. Honestly, as much as I love this track, I believe that the music video accentuated the meaning of the track even more. The more mellow “No Fight Left” continues the message of surrendering control, a message I thought was very encouraging to hear JJ sing.

The organ-flavored “Someday” is a prayer to a dear friend, encouraging them that one day we will experience peace in heaven, after which comes a thirty-second reprise of “In the End,” very peaceful and continuing the music of it’s preceding track well. Undoubtedly the most upbeat, and fun sounding track musically, “Red Against Your Black” states that: ”When you run away/ I will bring you back/ oh my love is the red against your black.” It was also nice to hear JJ’s husband Dave add supportive background vocals to this creative track.

“Sunshine” speaks of being the sunshine on rainy days, a very sweet song to JJ’s daughters, after which comes the previously released “Boat Song,” in which JJ speaks to her husband speaking of how perfectly they match and are there to help each other. The humming added a ton to this track, which sets the stage for the closing track. Very simple but profound, “Kingdom Come” closes Deeper and speaks of that glorious day when all will be made new.

JJ Heller’s vocals are definitely a highlight of her music, and her creative song-writing that tackles life, relationships, and her faith in God is very enjoyable as well. The acoustic format of Deeper, as well as hearing some old songs recreated was a great listen!

Rating: 3.5/5
Release date: October 11, 2011

Track listing:
1. I Get to Be the One
2. The Very Thought of You
3. When I’m With You
4. In the End
5. Control
6. No Fight Left
7. Someday
8. In the End (Reprise)
9. Red Against Your Black
10. Sunshine
11. Boat Song
12. Kingdom Come

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