Monday, April 16, 2012

Moriah Peters: I Choose Jesus Review

Like many, I was first introduced to the stellar vocals of 19-year-old Moriah Peters through her part of the vocals of Vanna Banana in Veggietales’ Princess and the Popstar film. I watched the special features where I saw Moriah talk about the special part she played, and soon after I learned of Moriah’s sign to Reunion Records. I was very intrigued to hear Moriah’s debut project, which is fronted by her successful radio single “I Choose Jesus.” The college freshman challenges her audience to hang onto God through the tough times and be audacious. It is this powerful message mixed with her infectious pop that will make Moriah Peters an instant favorite of the listener.

I Choose Jesus opens up fabulously with the country-flavored “Know Us By Our Love.” Listeners will definitely be reminded of Francesca Battistelli through this opening track which encourages the church to focus on reaching the hurting instead of constantly trying to put on a show for those around us: “We are the sisters that reach for the hurting/ we are the brothers that fight for the weak/ these are the hands that lead the world to Jesus/ Oh, they’ll know us by our love.” “Well Done” follows a little more upbeat, sounding very comparable to Jamie Grace. The acoustic guitar/piano pop track speaks of living a life that is pleasing to God: “I’m gonna run this race to hear You say well done.” These two opening tracks are, no doubt, the highlight off the I Choose Jesus album as a whole, but the entire album proves to be just as inspiring.

Moriah’s carefree and flexible vocals are accentuated through “Sing in the Rain,” a happy track about choosing to be thankful through the tough times of life. Moriah’s songwriting also comes out especially well here: “I wish that life could be carefree, sunny, never cloudy/ but You said that I would be in Your arms when things get crazy/ so when the storm doesn’t go away, I have decided to sing in the rain.” The title track “I Choose Jesus” follows nicely. Though it is the slowest track off the album, the powerful message of choosing the One who chose us first is very powerful. The track builds very nicely with strings and harmonies that accentuate Moriah’s breathtaking vocals.

Addressing purity, “Haven’t Even Kissed” follows, again bringing out a Jamie Grace sentiment. The more contemporary “All The Ways He Loves Us” follows, beginning with strong guitars and nice piano. Though the track isn’t very strong, it has a nice message of the countless ways God has blessed us.

“Glow” is also soft lyrically, but Moriah’s easy-to-sing-along-with vocals encourage the listener’s participation in this catchy track about shining God’s light to the world. The lyrics again are definitely a highlight, especially the standout line: “We have His light, what are we waiting for? Get out and glow!” And then the powerful bridge is very melodic: “If we don’t go, how will they know the love we show? Get out and glow!”

Speaking of how “with Your love anything is possible,” the jolly and melodic “Miracle” follows, co-written with Word Record’s Chris August. This song has also has a Francesca Battistelli sentiment, mostly because of Moriah’s jocular vocals that follow the melody of the fun piano sound. And for those who are broken, the soft, most-piano track “No Shame” follows, assuring the listener that God knows our pain and is always there in those rough times. And lastly, the album I Choose Jesus closes with “Bloom,” very heavenly and powerful. Those who feel like there’s no more hope, Moriah encourages them with these words: “Just keep believing, you’ll see a new season soon/ You’re turning into something amazing/ Baby, you were born to bloom.”

Moriah Peters just has what it takes! Her magnificent vocals, mixed with her encouraging song writing and catchy pop makes her an artist that fans of Francesca Battistelli, Dara Maclean and Jamie Grace need to check out!

Rating: 4/5
Release date: April 17, 2012

Track listing:
1. Know Us By Our Love
2. Well Done
3. Sing in the Rain
4. I Choose Jesus
5. Haven’t Even Kissed
6. All the Ways He Loves Us
7. Glow
8. Miracle
9. No Shame
10. Bloom

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