Mandisa’s debut album True Beauty gave inspiration and hope to women everywhere and challenged us to rethink our definition of beauty. With widespread media coverage including The Today Show, and LIVE! With Regis and Kelly, this American Idol alum proved she had more than just talent – but something important to say. Along the way, True Beauty scanned over 155,000 units, making it the best selling new artist album in 2007.
Now she returns with her follow up album Freedom, releasing March 24th. Featuring the first single "My Deliverer", the overaching theme of the album is the unique freedom that comes from a realtionship with Christ. This unbelievable freedom is wide reaching and includes the right to be free from any bondage that binds us, free from sin, free from fear, free from the anxieties of this world, and much more. Each song on the album addresses a different aspect of this freedom: "Not Guilty" illustrates that while our sin would condemn us, Jesus paid the penalty to set us free; "Definition of Me" shows how we are free from society's standards of value and beauty; "You Wouldn't Cry" is a testimony of one who has been set free from this world and now enjoys the full privileges of heavenly citizenship; "My Deliverer" and "Freedom Song" are praise celebrations for our great God who has truly set us free.
Uniting again with acclaimed Grammy & Dove Award-winning producers Brown Bannister (Amy Grant, Jeremy Camp, Mercy Me) and Chris Stevens (TobyMac, Matthew West, Sanctus Real), Mandisa continues to inspire and encourage listeners with her music.
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He Is With You
The Definition of Me (feat. Blanca of Group 1 Crew)
Freedom| Posted March 30, 2009
Mandisa has quickly grown in popularity since her days on American Idol, and the fact that fans are still coming back for more after her debut best selling project True Beauty proves that her early days simply wasn’t a brief craze. Her sophomore album Freedom, centers on that theme; whether freedom from sin, fredom from fear, or, on the more personal note for Mandisa, freedom of weightless.
The album plunges into a pop sound quickly with “my deliverer” with some gospel rolled in to preserve expectations of an inspirational pop/urban sounding CD. And Freedom rarely strays from that genre as it puts up anthems like “freedom song” which is an upbeat hip-hop dance tune that utilizes the choir to give it a southern style. Mandisa’s biggest weapon is putting inspirational music into any style of music; for example “he is with you” is piano fueled adult contemporary/inspirational pop song which tries to be an epic track early and does a fair job. The ballad “Not guilty” secures plenty of emotion for the four and a half minute song.
Freedom doesn’t take musical falls, which is to say that there are no obviously weak songs (except for the upbeat hip hop dance tune, “dance dance dance” which was originally done by MaryMary). Except for “The Definition of Me”, which has the most aggressive urban pop music on the disc along with a daring stanza with Blanca from Group 1 Crew, the album takes no risks which may disappoint some fans as the music is somewhat predictable. Mandisa does take a different approach with “victorious” with its light adult contemporary/hip hop/pop tune but the execution is flawed. The inspirational finale “you wouldn’t cry”, is good if not just a little unsurprising.
Although no one excepts Mandisa to give listeners deep looks into theology she does a fine job of giving fans everlasting truths, even when they have already been covered. Even though “victorious” may not be a new concept, its one that never grows old (‘I want the one that you can't see…Jesus, I want You to be/Living inside of me’) and “The Definition of Me” condemns the fading gems in this world for inward beauty and ‘the truth’. Matthew West’s song writing on “how much” echoes his own song about God’s love: “more” Strong moments arise but there are a few low lyrical spots such as the repetitive worship cover of “dance dance dance” and an originality lacking “freedom song” which borrows from “my chains are gone”. The most disappointing song is “not guilty” where Mandisa awes at forgiveness but fumbles the ball as she makes no mention of those who are guilty.
It’s the lack of risk taking on Freedom which ultimately holds back the album from greatness as both the musical and lyrical sides of the CD rarely emerge from safe territory. But Mandisa’s sophomore project will likely not disappoint fans and will, in fact, probably increase respect for this Christian artist whose American Idol roots grow more obsolete each year.
Mandisa is an artist who blends in Pop with Christian music. Her Debut album “True Beauty” was released about two years before this one. She was previously on American Idol and started her career with her debut CD “True Beauty” which came out in 2007. This is her 2009 album “Freedom”
“My Deliverer” is a soft tune that basically says that God freed us from our sin and we are to praise him to thank him for freeing us from sin. “How Much” is very catchy and has smooth vocals and asks the question , Do you know how much you are loved by God. She uses metaphors such as towers and compares how much we are loved more than ever man-made thing that earth could ever provide. She gives reassurance to all believers to reassure us that we have value no matter what other people say in this world. How much does God really love us?
“The Definition of Me” states what qualities a person wants in a life and the qualities that are shown through a “Fruitful Life” Vs. the “Sinful” life or life that bears no fruit. It is a very upbeat and catchy song and Mandisa even raps some through one of the verses of the song. The beat is perfect and the song is raw and fits the qualities that lie within a fruitful life pleasing to the Lord and being free from sin.
“Not Guilty” is a song that stands out among others in this CD. It is very upbeat, heartfelt and pure worship thanking the Lord for all he has done.
This is a very solid album with a mix of soft and high upbeat songs with strong and intense vocals. The first few songs are softer and the rest is very upbeat and she sings so well. She sings a song sang by another Christian artist called “A Broken Hallelujah”
This is a great release from Mandisa and if you are looking for something different with great vocals and great beats mixed in with Pop music then you will love Mandisa’s music.
Overall score: 5/5
I give it a 5/5 due to the incredible vocals and intense beats used to praise that she uses in this to make mainstream Pop meets Christian music work today.
Mandisa finds "Freedom" from the mediocre| Posted March 16, 2009
"Freedom" is the title and recurring theme on Mandisa's sophmore album. She even dedicates the album to those "...chained by addictions, failures, or circumstances..." With a message of hope and love beyond all understanding, Mandisa's album could have been cliche or contrived. But in the gifted hands of the team of songwriters (Matthew West & Cindy Morgan to name a few), producers (Chris Stevens & Brown Bannister), and Mandisa herself, the album soars beyond her freshman effort and escapes the sophmore slump like only a true diva could do.
The album kicks off with the fun R&B/Pop tune "My Deliverer". This is a fun song that is sure to turn anyones sad day into a brighter one. "How Much" answers the question (to our best human ability) of how much God loves every one of us. "He Is With You" is a reminder of Gods constant companionship.
"The Definition of Me" is the lyrical equivalent of "True Beauty" from her first album, but musically couldnt be more different. With guest vocals by Blanca Reyes from Group 1 Crew, and an Urban/Hip-Hop beat, this song is an encouragment to Girls and Women of all ages shapes and sizes, that what is on the inside is "the definition of me". "Not Guilty" is a sort of court room drama portraying our final testimony before the LORD.
The middle of the album lost me every time. I enjoy the lyrics, but the music is just so standard that I lost interest. But the beautiful and emotional "Broken Hallelujah" steps in and saves the day. This heart felt piano ballad is one of the best songs on the album and is sure to be a single soon. "Freedom Song" and "Dance, Dance, Dance" are slight oddballs on the album, but not bad songs. The first being a Gospel/R&B style that is fun and even reminiscent of greats like CeCe Winans, and the second a mild techno dance song that is enjoyable to say the least.
The closer is a beautiful ballad about life in Heaven and how "You Wouldn't Cry" for me today. It reminds me of "If You Could See Me Now" but seems to surpass it in certain respects.
I loved this album and HIGHLY recommend that you pick one up at your local christian bookstore come March 24th.