|A One-Way Winner | Posted February 15, 2017
Hollyn made waves in the Christian music world with her EP featuring the hit single "Alone (feat. TRU)" . Hollyn had something to give to Christian Music but a EP is only a taste of what she had to offer. She finally released her debut album "One-Way Conversations" with Gotee Records, working with producers Bryan Fowler (Ryan Stevenson), Wit and 42 North (Andy Mineo), Cole Walowac of Capital Kings, Eric Ramey (Britt Nicole) and more. Her debut album was co-writen by tobyMac, Cole Walowac, herself and more to make an outstanding album that proves once again, Christian Music isn't boring.
The album opens with "Can't Live Without", a EDM sounding track thats a talk (a one-way conversation) between Hollyn and God where she stats "I can't live without Your love". Next up is a favorite of mine "Love With Your Life", a catchy, upbeat, pop song thats a standout on the album and proves that Hollyn is going places. This song is about showing love with more then just our words. We can say all we want but showing love is the best way to change the world. Next up "Obvious" keeps the EDM sound, is a turn around from "Can't Live Without" with God talking to us saying that He can help us through all our pain if we let our walls fall down. "All My Love" is a love song between a girl and a boy about pouring out all there love for each other for a true love. Taking is into a worship spin "In Awe" is a worship song to God about how He loves us even though He doesn't need us, He died for us. When you stop to think about it... you can't help but be in awe about Him.
Starting up again to the energy, "Party In The Hills (feat. Steven Malcolm & Andy Mineo)" is a song that... you guessed it, party. Hollyn teams up with Christian rappers Andy Mineo and newcomer Steven Malcolm to get the fast paced track rolling. This track was done by Steven Malcolm to be on his debut album coming out later this year but also ending up on Hollyn's. Christian Music is full of surprises. This song is a good dance to song but doesn't any meaning. If your not a fan of hip-hop, this track probably won't make your favorite list anytime soon. Slowing down the energy again is a beautiful song called "Lovely", in this song Hollyn sings about how the worlds standers for beauty is nothing compared to how He sees us, lovely. This song is one of the high points of the album but surpried me hearing the word "sexy" which could not be the word some people want to hear (even though it wasn't used in a bad way).
The energy picks up again with this pop styled song "Go (feat. tobyMac & Diverse City)". This song is slighty more edgy but still comes out as a great song. This song is about escaping a relationship thats pulling you away from God. Choose you boyfriends and girlfriends wisely. TobyMac & Diverse City bring the backup vocals but doen't have much time to shine by there own. However this song is still a good one to be noted as one of TobyMac's best team-ups . Giving a different sound then the rest of the album, "Waiting For" is a song about knowing that your special somebody isn't everything and theres alot for to be waiting for in life. This track really didn't stand out that much to me to much but theres a song for everyone so try it out.
Has a guy I knew I wasn't going like this track and was right. "Girl" is a song that... confused me. Its a good team up with Tree Giants but the meaning behide this song is questionable and I think thats somewhat the purpose. The song is the rawest and realest song on the album. Showing us the struggle that girls and guys go through in life. When we relise that were not in control of life, the stress and pressure is relased from us. Putting us back in EDM, Hollyn shines one last time with "Love With Your Life (Capital Kings Remix)" leaving a reminder to show the love of Christ with our actions so may see a change.
For her first album Hollyn steped it up from her EP with a unique music approach and lyrics that are real and true. This album shows us life and who she she is, a young girl, going through life while keeping her fire for Christ alive. With this album Hollyn has shown us her message and heart behide her music. I've seen Hollyn live twice and each time she's gotten better and really shows a postive message of the hope of Christ. With only one album this is only a taste of whats to come with Hollyn. If you love music that's postive with a style that your mainstream friends will listen to, I think you better give Hollyn's album a chance and see how you like it.
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|Hollyn's Debut | Posted February 14, 2017
From the time I noticed that tobyMac’s new album This Is Not a Test would have two songs featuring this “Hollyn,” I was interested in what she would bring to the CCM table. When the album was released, I found out that the answer was “quite a bit of talent!” Hollyn started turning more heads with her self-titled EP, featuring hit single “Alone (feat. TRU).” Now, after what seems like an eternity of waiting, she is finally ready to show the world what she can do with her first full-length album, One-Way Conversations.
While her EP was a blend of hip hop, pop, and R&B, Hollyn lets us know just how modern this album will be right off the bat with the tropical house-flavored Can’t Live Without. The EDM styling is unmistakably mainstream in feel and is a fun track, but at almost 4 and a half minutes in length, it feels just a bit too long, and it does end up being by far the lengthiest song on the album. Lead single Love With Your Life is super upbeat and catchy, a great blend of pop and EDM, and still stands as my favorite song by Hollyn to date. Tracks Obvious? and All My Love bring back the modern tropical style, both with themes focused around a much-loved friend. These four opening songs hold the most dance-focused material on the record, and they end up being the strongest cuts presented here.
In Awe is the first noticeably lackluster song on the tracklist. While very heartfelt lyrically, it fails to be anything special overall, resulting in a possibly skippable track for some. Hollyn’s first collaboration song on the album, Party in the Hills, features CCM rap veteran Andy Mineo and newcomer Steven Malcolm (whose debut album this song originally belongs to). While also nothing overly exceptional, it serves to be a fun, party-centered track mixing acoustic pop and rap (though it would have been nice to hear Hollyn throw in some nice rhymes here as well). Lovely is another pop/hip hop blend, and once again, while fun and featuring some nice vocal work and a good message, fails to stand out from the crowd too much and becomes a little bit forgettable.
In many debut albums by Gotee Records members, there is a song that features founding member and CCM legend tobyMac. Jamie Grace had “Hold Me,” for example, and Capital Kings had “We Belong As One.” This time around, toby and his Diverse City band join Hollyn on the predictably hip-hoppin’ Go, where she describes her need to flee the “flames” of a bad relationship (though it is uncertain whether it is with a boy or sin itself). The song is catchy and fun overall, but tobyMac and the gang barely have any time to shine. Besides some background vocals in the main hook, the band gets a “chant” section just before the final chorus, and that’s it. This is Hollyn’s opportunity to have one of her own songs feature on of the most beloved Christian artists of all time, but instead of having a chance to provide some sick new raps, tobyMac and Diverse City are limited to a performance that may be better described as “with tobyMac and Diverse City” rather than a “feature.” This may be more of a nitpick, but I do feel it detracts from the song overall, especially considering it clocks in at under 3 minutes as it is.
In fact, a surprisingly high amount of songs on the album are underwhelmingly shorter than 3 minutes in length, including the next two. Serving to be another somewhat dull and perhaps underdeveloped track, Waiting For ends up sounding almost more like an extended interlude than a complete song. Finishing it off with one more artist collaboration, Tree Giants make a nice contribution to the modernly styled, piano-driven hip hop track Girl. This is the only time Hollyn really lets her rapping skills show, so it is nice that her lyrics are very personal, as the song is constantly questioning who she is. The remix of Love With Your Life found at the very end didn’t impress me much on first listen (as most of Capital Kings’ deep house tracks haven’t), but it has grown on me somewhat since.
In the end, Hollyn’s debut has left many feeling a little underwhelmed. There are still some undoubtedly fun tracks here, though, and her shift to a much more modern style, while unexpected, works for the most part. One of the biggest drawbacks of the album is that she doesn’t allow herself a huge amount of time to show just how talented she really is. If you have seen her perform live, you know that Hollyn has a truly amazing voice, but there was a bit of vocal overproduction present in this outing, and not a lot of time given for her to really soar. The album is still enjoyable, but I know that she can do better (you want proof? Giver her EP a spin.) While her debut album may not have been everything that we dreamed, we still love her, and hopefully she will continue to grow in the future.
Song to Download Now:
"Love With Your Life" (Get it on iTunes here.)
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