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Heather Williams [This Time Around]
Posted September 22, 2011
By KevinDavis_NRT, Staff Reviewer


Heather Williams is bursting on the music scene with her debut album This Time Around.  Her songs and her character speak of the strength of a woman well beyond her years. Williams grew up in extreme poverty with her mom and stepfather. Throughout her early childhood, she suffered intense abuse. Her mother gave her away at age 11, and Williams went to live with her grandfather in Michigan and later with her aunt and uncle who eventually adopted her and are now her legal parents. Living with little guidance and the pain of past abuse and rejection, Williams turned to drugs and alcohol as a way to numb the realities of life. As things began to spiral out of control, the young teenager began to have thoughts of suicide and was even homeless at one point. At age 18, however, the dangerous road Williams was on took a U-turn when she gave her life to Christ. Early acclaim has followed Williams since the release of her debut EP last fall. In addition to the radio success of "Hallelujah," Williams was named amongst the "Best Bets of 2011" by Billboard Magazine, one of only two Christian artists to receive this title.

“Beautiful Thing” is the best opening track of any album this year, rivaling “Rolling In The Deep” by Adele as an opener that sets the pace for an album. It has that same rollicking tempo and provides insight into Heather’s mindset and submission to God as a believer, especially in the hooky chorus where Heather emotionally cries out to God, “Can You take all that I am and make this broken mess a beautiful thing? Every jagged piece, can You fix me, please? Fix me, fix me, I wanna be a beautiful thing." She clearly loves our Lord and Savior Jesus with all of her heart and wants to celebrate that fact with every song. In her great new song “God Is Still God,” Williams belts out, "We've all been lost and we've all been hurt, where our hope is thin and our faith don't work, but nothing lasts forever, the only thing that matters is God is still God and He holds it together, so hang on now." I sing that line along with Heather's gorgeous and powerful voice at the top of my lungs and I find it so uplifting in this troubling time where the earth is groaning, the economy is failing and the only thing that matters is God is still God. Amen to that! I’ve been enjoying the powerful and moving ballad “Hallelujah” for the past year and from the moment I first heard the song, I’ve been impressed by Heather’s strong vocals. Once I learned about her upbringing and that she wrote the song in response to her family tragedy after losing her six month old baby boy, I hear an even deeper yearning for God in the song and throughout this incredible album. Those three opening tracks are the strongest of any album I’ve heard this year.

As if the beginning of the album isn’t impressive enough, Heather takes it up a notch musically with the middle tracks, especially “Take It From You” and “This Time Around.” I’ll admit that although I’m normally drawn to the Brit-pop, alternative rock and singer-songwriter genres, these two ultra-catchy dance-pop songs have won me over to that musical style, mostly due to the personal lyrics. The mainstream music charts have been dominated by Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Britney Spears and others who make the subject matter of their songs as edgy as possible to draw in listeners. Unfortunately as a father of three young daughters who love dance-pop style music, there haven’t been many edifying songs I can offer as wholesome alternatives to those artists, until now. I literally dance in my chair, my car, or while I’m walking around when I play these incredible songs. Electronic pop music has made a big mark on the music scene and Heather brings a vocal sincerity to these ultra-catchy pop songs which could easily be featured in mainstream music alongside those top-selling mainstream artists. “Take It From You” features Heather passionately singing from God’s perspective these profound lyrics—“Bring Me your shame, bring Me your worry, I’ll take it from you, give Me your doubt, give Me your hurting, I’ll take it from you, I died a death I don’t deserve, to give you life in return, when you’ve done all that you can do, I’ll take it from you.” Title track “This Time Around” is a perfect pop song. I hang on every note of Heather’s compelling personal story—“Love is so much better than it’s been before, My heart’s been shattered pieces on the floor, on the floor, You give me one more reason and I am finally breathing out love is better this time around.” This song challenges listeners to drop the masks we all wear to try to cover up our insecurities and lay them at the feet of Jesus. Heather clearly understands the Truth of the Gospel from Luke 7:47: Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.” That’s the theme of this album. Amen.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

Heather Williams has the greatest voice I've heard this year, her vocals are so strong and pure. Musically and lyrically, her album This Time Around is brilliant. Look out GMA Dove Awards, a great new artist, female vocalist and stellar pop/contemporary album is on the way. Heather Williams is my choice as "the voice" in Christian music. This album is a 5 star work of art that brings me closer to God.

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