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Tracing His Hand
Artist: Jeni Varnadeau
Label: Organic Records
Length: 10 tracks / 50:04 min

On the surface, Jeni Varnadeau's third album, Tracing His Hand, is a pretty standard pop album. The level of creativity rests at the same height as plenty other contemporary pop bands. The production is very, very slick. Varnadeau's vocals inspire dozens of comparisons to other adult contemporary female vocalists.

Tracks like "Tracing Your Hand" and "Right Here" scream Top 40. Big choruses, catchy melodies and a definite sing-a-long quality make these songs contemporary Christian stations will eat up. Varnadeau has had some impressive radio play off her past two records, but this one will undoubtedly tower over the success of the previous albums.  Alongside those fairly modern songs there are also retro, less contemporary cuts. "Remind Me" brings back memories of Mariah Carey's "Hero," and other mid-90s pop hits. Then there's disco-ish "Takin' in the Air," album closer.

The lyrics are inspirational, much the same as dozens of other CCM artists. With the exception of "Adventure with You," every song is obviously Christian based. A few are basically worship disguised as  pop music. Most deal with various aspects of the Christian life. "Adventure With You" talks about marriage, though Varnadeau explains it is not dedicated to her husband: rather, it is dedicated to her parents and parents-in-laws, as a way of thanking them for staying together. It's an inspirational song which is very relevant in today's day and age.

Varnadeau has chosen a different musical direction to her previous albums this time. I was hoping for a progression of her guitar-driven No Hesitation. It is not. Instead, she has put a heavy commercial spin on her music this time around resulting in a predictable pop album. Well-executed, but not unique.

Eric Daams 9/9/2000


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