Review

LABEL: UNIVERSAL MUSIC CHRISTIAN GROUP
RELEASE DATE: SEPTEMBER 27, 2011

S

o, Rachael Lampa is back. It has been 7 years since she last released a studio album (although we have had an EP, some Christmas songs and a hits compilation in the meantime). 7 years ago, Lampa was where I am now, a 19 year girl trying to make sense of what might happen next. Now, she’s 26, married and settled – ans ready to tell us her story so far.

But first let’s just get the back-story straight. Rachael Lampa is no ordinary returning artist. No indeed. She started off at 15 and almost immediately she was a superstar. She has a slew of no. 1 singles to her name having made numerous high profile appearances after touring heavily as America’s favourite teen sensation. Comparisons range from Beyonce to Britney Spears to Stacie Orrico to Miley Cyrus -although ironically, that last comparison should be the other way round.

All We Need is Lampa as we knew her before. Her faithful fans will instantly recognise her bigger than life vocals and her pop-perfect style. The title track which opens is catchy and fun. Yet something has changed – it quickly becomes apparent that some growing up has been going. There are previously unseen levels of maturity that come through in the music. Make no mistake, this is still pop music – but introspective, thoughtful pop music.

This is especially true of “Beauty’s Just A Word” a clever, beautiful song about using the obstacles in lives to gain strength. It is both poignant and powerful. “Feel” is also hauntingly captivating – “I don’t need for you to try to fix the world this time/I just want your heart to break every time I cry”. Although it is not a new release “Human” with Lampa’s duet with Jonny Lang is a standout track with, arguably, some of the most honest lyrics Lampa has penned. The execution is flawless.

Musically, Rachael sticks to what she knows – pop music, occasionally changing the flavour slightly with a hint of R&B, jazz or rock. Her cover of Taio Cruz’s “Run to You” is exceptionally well done. The Motown-influenced “No Escape” with its fun saxophone features is light-hearted easy listening. “My One and Only” is a funky dance-driven track which throws in a few surprises at the beginning. Likewise “Remedy” has a touch of urban thrown into the mix.

Despite the plethora of strong tracks on All We Need, the project does have its cheesier moments. Take the chorus of “Uncharted Territory”, for example. The music has matured, but there are a few moments of clichés on the album. Whilst Rachael Lampa must be congratulated from writing unashamedly Christian lyrics in her songs, it is a shame that some of her ideas are not more articulately expressed.

It is clear that time has changed Rachael Lampa. “Live For You” of 2011 is quite different from the “Live For You” of all those years ago, on her debut LP. Her fans have a lot to be glad about, this diva is back in action. But coming back is just half the battle; keeping moving on will be a much tougher victory.