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Beauty Has Grace
Artist: Jaci Velasquez 
Label: Word Records     
Length: 10 Tracks / 38:54 

Jaci Velasquez burst onto the scene in the mid-90s as a bright eyed teen with such popular songs as "If This World," "On My Knees," and "Flower in the Rain.".  Fast forward to the past few years that have seen Jaci's life undergo hard times, changes, and new circumstances.  Jaci is now in her mid-20s and a married woman with her own record label, A' Postrophe Records.  One look at the cover of this new project will tell you that this is a much more mature Jaci.  

The CD itself also shows that this is a more mature Jaci.  Many of the songs have more of a rock feel aided by the work of producer, Martin Terefe who has been quite successful in Europe.  She has also taken more of a hands-on role with this project by working as an executive producer and co-writing on six of the album's ten tracks (including co-writing "Supernatural" with her husband Darren Potuck).  This adds a whole new dimension to Jaci's music.   

The new more mature sound can be told from even the first track, "I'm Not Looking Down" which has more guitars and a much more mature sounding Jaci.  This catchy mid-tempo song is a great way to introduce people to this project.  The album's first single is the second track, "With All My Soul" which features a catchy chorus and will be one that fans sing along to for years to come.  "Prayer to Love," the album's third track, is a great Jaci slow song with a chorus reminiscent of 50s doo-wop music.    

Some of the highlights of this project include "Prayer to Love," "Lay It Down," which is most reminiscent of Jaci's early work; and "Tonight," which a European feel. 

The album's weak points come when Jaci tries to go too rock and is straining her voice on songs such as "When You Hold Me."  Overall, the song is good but some parts of the song just sound like she is straining her voice too much a la Ashlee Simpson.  The album just doesn't have enough songs that stand out in the listeners mind and are catchy enough.  There are some good, enjoyable songs on the album but not enough songs that absolutely wow the listeners. 

This is a solid release for Jaci as her music matures and grows.  Gone is the bright-eyed teenage girl who wowed the pop charts and won everyone's heart.  Now she is a mature woman with a mature sound and one that deserves attention.  It will be interesting to see how Jaci continues to evolve and where this new sound takes her. 

Burton Wray  7/12/2005


 
 
 
 

 

 
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