Artist Garden Entertainment singer/songwriter Holly Starr returns September 15 with Human. Bold, colorful musical textures and heartfelt lyrics punctuate the seven-song set, which was produced by Matthew Parker and David Thulin, as well as Bryan Fowler (TobyMac, Mandisa).
Debut single "Run The Race," a sparkling anthem of empowerment, has amassed more than 1 million streams on Spotify and been featured on the service's Top Christian Tracks playlist, while new single "Bruises" offers encouragement and understanding for those battered from life's blows. Starr spotlights family relationships throughout Human, including "Umbrella," a love song for her husband, and "Sailing," a tribute to her late grandmother and namesake.
"We all go through ups and downs, seasons of great joy and seasons we wish we could erase," Starr says. "Writing songs from all these moments has been the heartbeat behind my music from the very beginning. And it's in that tender place of vulnerability that relationship happens, where loneliness is cast aside even for a minute, and where unity and mutual understanding can be found."
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Made to Run the Race| Posted September 04, 2017
One of my intangible "it factors" that I listen for in selecting my favorite songs and albums is whether I'm moved emotionally. From previous albums by Holly Starr, her songs "Through My Father's Eyes," "God Is" and "Grace for All" all fit that category for me. If you like catchy songs that are scripturally based with relatable lyrics and edifying messages, then you are in for a treat with Human.
The EP was available early by supporting her Kickstarter campaign. It features standout songs about the ups and downs of being human in our Christian walks as followers of Jesus. The cohesiveness of this album is one of the highlights for me, as the thesis statement of the album could be "you were made to run the race" inspired by 2 Timothy 4:7 (NKJV): "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith."
The songs all connect to the finishing the race as they run in a track order that flows seamlessly from one song to the next. The opener reflects truth about finding beauty on the other side of the "Bruises" that we all carry, with a similar message about identity as "Through My Father's Eyes," which addresses Holly's struggle with body image. The upbeat synth-tinged opener invites listeners into Holly's story and her positive grace-filled messages of hope, starting with the reminder that "bruises aren't what make you who you are."
Preceding the album release, "Run the Race" has already had over 1 million streams online. What's awesome about the upbeat song is that it provides encouragement and personal motivation to fight the good fight of faith and "run the race" of life strong. It also addresses the spiritual fight that we all face daily. God doesn't give us temptations that we can't overcome with the empowering message "don't give up, the prize is up ahead...quiet the fear, focus your eyes, don't you know that you were made to run the race." The song is so good I can't stop listening to it, and the Matthew Parker remix that closes the album is stellar. As you listen to the song, you'll want to get out and "show this world what you're fighting for."
"Human" ties back to our identity with a hook-filled melody and poignant message: "sometimes we need room to be human, maybe we could never be perfect people, maybe that's okay... maybe that's what makes us humans, know that grace is real."
Addressing family relationships throughout the album, "Umbrella" is a love song for Holly's husband Chris, while the moving "Sailing" is a tribute to her late grandmother who Holly Starr was named for. Both songs are touching tributes, wonderful examples of how these songs are very intentional and reflect what has happened in Holly's life since her last album.
Holly's vocals are so strong and pure. Electronic pop music has made a big mark on the music scene, and the production on these ultra-catchy pop songs could easily be featured in mainstream music alongside top-selling artists.
The Bottom Line: If you like female singers that make you think while you enjoy their catchy and empowering songs, Human is for you. I have three young daughters, and this is a solid upbeat pop album with positive biblical messages which is a great alternative to mainstream pop artists. This is easily my top pop album of the year.
Song to Download Now:
"Run the Race (Matthew Parker Remix)" (Get it on iTunes here.)