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Musical Growth
Posted February 27, 2011
By SarahFine_NRT, Staff Reviewer

Francesca Battistelli didn’t just splash into the music scene back in 2008... she cannonballed. Since the release of her 2008 debut album, ‘My Paper Heart’, much has happened in the life of the reigning GMA Female Vocalist of the Year . She’s been nominated for multiple Dove Awards, garnered a Grammy nod back in 2009, been rightfully awarded the title of being the best selling female Christian artist in over five years, and alongside all this? She met and married her husband, former NewSong percussionist Matt Goodwin, and given birth to their son in September of 2010. Needless to say, with all the growth in her life these last three years, personally and professionally, Francesca Battistelli’s sophomore album was one everyone was going to be looking at.

Hundred More Years starts off with the first radio single, the crazy upbeat ‘This Is The Stuff’, a song that talks about the hassle we go through in life from a fun perspective, offering the message that the things we struggle with are ultimately for our own good. It sets the right tempo for the rest of the album. ‘Constant’ is along the same lines as the first song on the album, tackling the issue of change, and how in the midst of chaos and movement, God always stays the same.

‘You Never Are’ is a fun song that sounds a lot like material you would have found on her first album, musically speaking. ‘Angel By Your Side’ and ‘Motion Of Mercy’ are two of the slower tracks on the album that showcase the musically maturity Francesca has made, leaning more towards airy pop melodies that fit her powerful vocals very well. ‘Emily (It’s Love)’, with a guest appearance by none other than acclaimed singer/songwriter Dave Barnes, is one of the quirkiest yet most heartfelt songs on the album. The lyrics are addressed to a girl, Emily, who feels unloved, the message of course being that there is a God who loves her unconditionally.

‘Good To Know’ offers a message to a prodigal child of sorts, the lyrics explaining that it’s easy to get distracted and stray, but in the end, it’s good to know that God will always take us back and make us the people we’re meant to be. The acoustically driven ‘So Long’ gets back to Francesca’s singer/songwriter roots, while ‘Don’t Miss It’ takes the role of being the most aggressive song on the album, once again along the lines of ‘This Is The Stuff’, with a moral that reminds us of how short life is, and how we can’t get caught up in the petty things and miss out on life.

‘Worth It’ takes the role of conveying the painful side of love, but how in the end, it’s worth every moment you give. It is lyrically beautiful and the piano driven melody couldn’t fit the song any better. I hope to see this song as a single in the future. The album comes to an end with the title track, ‘Hundred More Years’, which honestly brought me to tears. Francesca enters storytelling songwriter territory by sharing the tales of a couple on their wedding day and the story of a father and his daughter, and how in each moment like this, we need to make the most of it, knowing God smiles down on those who enjoy the life He gives. It is by far my favorite track on the album, if not my favorite song Francesca has done to date.

‘Hundred More Years’ is what many Christian music fans would call a one of the ‘must-have’ albums of the year, and I absolutely agree. The theme of this album of spending our time on earth wisely and investing in treasures that last is very encouraging, and the changes in Francesca Battistelli’s life have clearly impacted her musicianship, leaning towards a more organic approach to her craft. But more than that, it reflects in her songwriting. This is one I know I will be playing far past the first few weeks. I look forward for what the future holds for Francesca Battistelli, because if her next album shows as much growth as Hundred More Years, I can safely say she’ll be one to watch in the CCM industry for a very long time.

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