JJ Heller [LOVED]| Posted February 28, 2013 JJ Heller’s new album LOVEDis available everywhere March 12. JJ’s soft voice and introspective lyrics first hit the spotlight in 2009 when her song “Your Hands” was featured on the hit show So You Think You Can Dance? and eventually found a life of its own on radio across the country. JJ’s trademark ability to be transparent and vulnerable resonates throughout LOVED. The 10 new songs serve as a reminder not to let go of hope, to step out of fear and into trust in spite of life’s present struggles.
I’m one of JJ’s newer fans and both Painted Red and When I'm With You have been in heavy rotation for me since they released. Naturally I’ve been interested in hearing her back catalog which blew me away once I heard how “Love Me” was re-recorded as “What Love Really Means.” This album displays JJ’s signature introspective emotional singer-songwriter style that paved the way for her current success, which is well-deserved. This incredible five star album opens with “If You Fall” which ushers in a newer more ambient musical feel, similar to Ellie Goulding, A Fine Frenzy and Sarah McLachlan. It is one of several stand-out songs on this album. “For You” features guitar, piano and strings layered musically in a powerful fashion as the song builds to the emotional proclamation “If I can talk, Then I will sing for You, If I can walk, Then I will dance for You, As long as I can breathe, My heart will beat for You.” Amen.
“Redemption” and “Loved” are also transparent, vulnerable and moving songs. JJ’s breathtaking lyrics “Do you feel the ache inside your soul, You know you’ll never make it on your own, Sorrow is too great for you to hold it, You’re gonna break, Why don’t you lay it down” brings me to tears as I pray along with her in “Loved.” What’s so relatable is how JJ Heller’s “relationship” songs are relevant for everyone, but especially if you know Jesus, then you know the ultimate answer to the quest for love can only be found in Him. No song better displays that emotion than “Who You Are” which includes the extremely moving description of parents who have painful questions for God about losing a child. They ultimately find redemption in knowing and being known by our Father in Heaven as gorgeously sung in the lyrics: “You have a Father’s heart, And a love that’s wild, And You know what it’s like to lose, Yeah, You know what it’s like, What it’s like to lose a child.” I started sobbing the first time I heard the emotional bridge of the song, it’s that moving and beautiful.
JJ passionately sings “The truest things I know, Are those I cannot see, From my birth to my dying day, I believe, I’d rather have Jesus than houses or lands, I’d rather be led by his nail-pierced hands, I’d rather have Jesus than anything…” in “I Believe,” one of many times this album causes tears to flow as I worship along with JJ in Spirit and in Truth.No matter what you are going through in life, God’s promise to His children is that you are loved. God is love. That biblical truth is profoundly captured on LOVED.
Rarely has an album affected me this deeply as many of the songs cause me to physically feel the depth and sincerity of JJ’s goose bump inducing emotional vocals. This is yet another one of those “gourmet” albums that only comes along when JJ Heller puts out a new album. I have to fight back tears while listening to several of the songs, especially “Redemption,” “Loved,” “Who You Are” and “I Believe.” The new worshipful songs “If You Fall,” “For You,” “Better Things” and “Come Back To Me” are not to be missed. If you like the singer-songwriters Audrey Assad, Sara Groves and Brooke Fraser then you must pick up LOVED by JJ Heller. This is one of the most emotionally moving and authentic albums I’ve ever heard. JJ’s remarkable singing voice and her interesting music and lyrics are truly captivating. This is a nearly perfect album.
DELICIOUS!| Posted March 19, 2013
YIKES! We live in such an angry, hostile world today. And in this abrasive age that's over saturated with Rap and Screamo "music," JJ Heller offers an oh-so welcome breath of fresh air.
In the stellar tradition of such singer/songwriters as Joni Mitchell, Sara Groves and James Taylor, Heller's latest release, Loved is a well-crafted collection of catchy and inspiring pop tunes. Produced by Ben Shive and Cason Cooley, this ten-song record is a collaboration between JJ Heller and her writing partner/husband, David Heller.
The songs contained in Loved are sweet and delicate, yet captivating and uniquely personal. And in Heller's signature fashion, her engaging vocals are combined with angelic melodies — making for a perfect vessel in which to project honest and pure messages of love, hope and faith.
Loved kicks off with "If You Fall" — a compelling statement of true love... If you fall, I fall with you. If you hurt, I feel it too. Even if my heart turns black and blue, I will love you.
A true highlight, "For You" offers a bold testament... If I can talk, then I will sing for you. If I can walk, then I will dance for you. As long as I can breathe, my heart will beat for you.
Reminiscent of Alison Krauss, "Redemption" is a delightful treat. It's an amazing, uplifting song of promise and encouragement... Someday we will remember how to fly. Then we will rise like embers burning bright. Everything broken will be whole again.
The title track, as well as "Create in Me" and "Stay" are all beautiful and delightful gems in the vein of Sara Groves — offering wonderful words of inspiration.
"Better Things" is another record highlight... I have a mission that is only mine to fill. Fear may try to blind my eyes, but it can never break my will. Hey, is that a fiddle I hear in the background? If so, kudos! This one sounds simply amazing.
An edgier-sounding track, "Come Back to Me," reaches out to someone who is clearly in need of love and compassion... I hate to see you all alone. You won’t find what you’re looking for. Your home is never far away. I’ll be here when you come back to me.
The notion of losing a child is simply unimaginable to any parent. But JJ and Dave tackle this issue eloquently in the record's debut video single, "Who You Are."
Loved comes to a powerful end with Heller's beautiful and personal love letter to God — "I Believe"... The truest things I know are those I cannot see. From my birth to my dying day, I believe.
Yes, at a time when I find myself growing increasingly disenchanted with current pop culture, JJ Heller's wonderful new record certainly gives me something to cheer about.