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Jennifer Knapp ~ Way I Am
Jennifer Knapp's third major-label release is filled with moments of agony and wisdom, as Knapp find ways to describe the daily struggles of everyday life with clarity and insight. The music ranges from the guitar-based, folk-rock writing style of her previous work on such tracks as the beautiful "Say Won't You Say" and the confessional "In Two (The Lament)," but she also shakes the walls a bit with the rocking "The Way I Am." As Knapp's muse matures, so does her confidence in trying different sounds, thanks in part to producer Tony McAnany. Several tracks here are heavily orchestrated (by the London Symphony Orchestra, no less), including the poignant closer, "No Regrets." As her many song-stories of faith testify, Knapp knows that the human condition is one of longing for something more. On The Way I Am, she shares that desire in the most personal manner yet. --Michael Lyttle
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Check out Jill Phillips and Ginny Owens. These three women are my personal favorites, with Ginny leading the pack. Her cd, Without Condition", is close to perfection.
This one is a little more polished than her prior works (featuring some top notch secular studio musicians), but is very much in keeping with the others.
She is sorely missed in Christian music.
This is Jennifer Knapp's third album, and Gotee Records pulled out all the stops on the production of this project. They hired some of the best studio musicians alive today, most notably Vinnie Colaiuta (Sting, Frank Zappa, Chick Corea) on drums and Tony Levin (Peter Gabriel, King Crimson) on bass. The only misstep on this album is producer Tony McAnany's decision to use a drum loop on a few of the songs, because I can't begin to understand why he would think that programmed drums would be a better choice than using Mr. Colaiuta's incredible skill throughout the entire album.
Lyrically, this is not an album of fun sing-alongs for your next campfire. Jennifer is plumbing the depths of her soul through this album, and not everything that she finds is what most would consider "uplifting," but it is certainly honest, and that is a breath of fresh air in a genre that spews out the same tired cliches time after time.
For instance, in the title track, she sings of how "It's better off this way - to be deaf, dumb and lame, than to be the way I am. It's better off this way, than be groping for the flame, than to be the way I am." I've read other people's reviews of this album to see if I even needed to review it, and it seems that I do, because people don't seem to be reading her lyrics correctly. The chorus to this song isn't saying that "it's better to seem humble by worldly standards than to go Godless as a carnal, worldly sinner," as one of the other reviews on this site claims. It's saying that it's better to not be able to hear, speak, or move, than be the way I am. It's better to be a vegetable than to be the way I am. It might even be a cry for help, who knows? Jennifer seems to have disappeared since this album came out almost five years ago now.
But every song on this album is gutwrenchingly honest, and beautiful at the same time. The beauty is found in the fact that there are so few people in Christian music who are willing to open up their hearts and write music from the darkest regions that they find there. The beauty is in admitting that, while the grace and mercy of God goes deep enough to reach even the darkest spots in our lives, it's still a struggle sometimes letting go of those places.
It's a struggle to make peace with the reaching through and beyond those dark places, to the fuller understanding of grace that lies on the other side of them. And it is Jennifer's willingness to draw back the curtain on her own struggle for peace that makes this album the best Christian album I've ever heard, even five years after it was first released...
Knapp's music has evolved somewhat. She no longer depends solely on her guitar to carry the songs and this album has a more produced sound. The best tracks on this one are "In Two (the Lament)", "Come to Me", "Fall Down", and the first three.
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However, Jennifer Knapp is different.Read more