I first heard about Bethany Dillon in 2013. Lots of people were talking about “Beautiful“, the third– and apparently most popular– track on the album… including teen pop sensation Demi Lovato, who said that the song helped her through tough times in her life.
I was interested enough to listen to the song on YouTube… and I loved it! Heck, it’s such a personal song that I teared up the first time I heard it (And I still love the song even today!). If a song can evoke emotions like that, and if the song means something special to the listener, you know it’s good.
Fast forward to 2015, and I’ve listened to Bethany’s debut album in its entirety several times on Spotify (I have yet to download it, as I don’t have enough iTunes money at the moment). I love everything about it; the inspirational and meaningful lyrics (that obviously came straight from the heart, they’re that good), the BEAUTIFUL combination of music styles (see what I did there?), and the instrumental tracks (the acoustic guitar-driven introduction in “Great Big Mystery” actually reminded me of various other singer-songwriters like Ed Sheeran).
And of course, we can’t forget about Bethany’s AMAZING voice. She was just 15 years old when she released this album, but already displayed musical talent, skill, and passion well beyond her years. Her voice is reminiscent of artists like Demi Lovato, Jennifer Knapp, Michelle Branch, and even Britt Nicole– but she still has a unique sound that’s all her own.
Standout tracks include “For My Love“, “Move Forward” (which is a throwback to the music of the 1960’s or 70’s), “Beautiful“, and “Lead Me On” (a cover of a classic by Amy Grant), though the whole album is incredible and it’s so hard to pick just one favorite song.
Another track that really stood out, “Aimless“, tells the story of several individuals who feel like they aren’t worth anything, who need to be reminded of how valuable they are in God’s eyes. By the end of the song, I could immediately point out the hidden message of the song, that we are all beautiful and have so much potential in our lives.
“All I Need” is a modern worship song that has a good beat and catchy lyrics… and in all honesty, it’s one of those songs that will get stuck in your head the first time you hear it. It’s one of the weaker tracks on the album– it doesn’t live up to the standards set by the rest of the songs. However, it’s still a good song nonetheless.
“Why” is a vivid and detailed depiction of something that all Christians go through from time to time– walking away from God, only to discover how much we really needed Him after all. It’s a hybrid of pop and rock, and the lyrics feature similes and metaphors to prove a point: “I’ve put you on / like an old pair of shoes / I’ve put you off / and now I need you.” It’s really different from any Christian song I’ve heard before, and reminds me of songs by various artists (of various genres) such as Alanis Morisette, AJ MIchalka (of Secretariat and Grace Unplugged), Mandisa, and Superchick.
Since her 2004 self-titled debut, Bethany has released 6 albums, 4 extended plays (EP’s), and her music has been featured in several movies (such as Bridge To Terabithia and the Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe). Her most recent recording effort, a live EP titled To Those Who Wait, was released in 2012 and displays everything we have come to expect from this CCM superstar. Meaningful and uplifting lyrics, amazing vocals, and the same faith and passion for God that made Bethany Dillon a household name in the music industry.
Album rating: 5/5 stars.