Friday, May 11, 2012

Neely: Everything I Am Review

Husband and wife rock duo Jeremy and Kaci Neely, better known as just Neely, easily remember how they got their start in music. The Neelys would tape radio programs on to cassettes and then filter through them, taking special note of singers they thought had special talent. The Neely's were married in 1996 and discovered their own talent in 2000. It wasn't until 2008 that the couple released The Zod Archives EP, and followed it up with their 2009 release Everything I Am. And while the band has signed to the Mosaic Artistry Group and released both a single and an acoustic EP since then, Everything I Am remains the band's primary offering. It is a fantastic eleven-track project that combines worship, rock, and even hip-hop!

It’s not hard to see why fans have given Neely a comparison to Chris Daughtry or Lifehouse. The opening track “Fall Down” has country elements to it, while otherwise, it has a mellow rock feel. Lyrically, it speaks of how when we fall down, that’s when we become closest to God – “How beautiful it is to fall down.” Jeremy leads this opening track, which is followed by the title track, sung mostly by Kaci. Kaci’s vocals are perfect for the strong guitars, and so are the lyrics which speak of finding your worth in God: “They say ‘I’m not good enough’/ You say ‘Come and take My hand’/ They say ‘Who do you think you are?’/ I say everything I am!”

“You and Me” is strong but very worshipful, speaking of how it all comes down to our relationship with Jesus Christ: “When I close my eyes, and the world just slips away, it’s just You and me…” This single is probably the most relatable and enjoyable track off Everything I Am. Speaking of being lukewarm, “In the Middle” features harmonies mixed with the rock/worship, and again, the lyrics are very relevant. The track also features a cool lead guitar instrumental.

Sounding much like the single, “You And Me,” “I’m Alive” follows, speaking of Spiritual rebirth, while “Tear Stained Pillow” and “Don’t Tell Me It’s Over” are rather sad. “Move” is a battle anthem, very exciting and engaging. Especially a highlight is the electrifying bridge: “You say you want a revolution? It’s time to become part of a solution! You say you want a revolution? Are. You. READY FOR A CHANGE!!!” At that point, it leads back into the chorus. Here’s a song I would love to see performed live in concert – very energetic and fun.

“Peace Be Still” still features upbeat guitar work, but is on the more worshipful side, led again by Kaci: “You say peace be still/ it’s My will that you stand in all of Me/ peace be still/ call My name and you will find your rest/ peace be still.” Again, the Neely’s lyrics are very personal and powerful, as they help the listener contemplate what God would say in our complicated circumstances.

“I Don’t Need You” speaking of those things in life we hold on to that actually hinder us, is the last track on the Everything I Am album, but the project closes with a secondary mix of “Move,” featuring Cash Hollistah. This time, the track has hip-hop interjections, clearly making it the fan-favorite off the record.

I love Neely’s mix! There’s rock, worship, and fun all mixed in one. The lyrics are Scripturally-rooted, there are some amazing vocals, and the project overall is very engaging and relevant. I hope it won’t be too long before Neely releases another album!

Rating: 4/5
Release date: November 19, 2009

Track listing:
1. Falling Down
2. Everything I Am
3. You and Me
4. In the Middle
5. I’m Alive
6. Tear Stained Pillow
7. Don’t Tell Me It’s Over
8. Move
9. Peace Be Still
10. I Don’t Need You
11. Move (feat. Cash Hollistah)

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