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Christian pop singer Joy Williams has released her third album “Genesis” (below), which contains Billboard’s current No. 1 Hot Christian single, “Hide.”

Christian pop singer Joy Williams has released her third album “Genesis” (below), which contains Billboard’s current No. 1 Hot Christian single, “Hide.” (Courtesy of Provident Label Group)

Joy Williams often has been seen as just another fresh face and pleasant voice.

That’s changing with her third CD, “Genesis,” which marks a new beginning for the Christian pop singer.

Since her last disc, 2002’s “By Surprise,” experience and a new husband seem to have shaped a deeper and more assertive singer and songwriter. In “Genesis,” Williams examines failures, fears, frustration, thankfulness and relationships as she covers the pop spectrum from sweet ballad to soaring anthem.

The disc leads off with “Stay,” which flows from a frantically paced opening to a soothing chorus as it examines the need to avoid being consumed by life’s worries and frustrations. “We” states that we’re all the same inside and even those on top cope with problems and insecurities. And the disc draws its title from “Say Goodbye,” which describes how a person can be changed by faith, stating, “This is your genesis. You’re different now.”

Williams’ new assertiveness shines on the rock-accented “Hide,” which is ranked No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot Christian Singles chart. In addressing those living in fear, her soaring vocals proclaim, “You don’t have to hide anymore. You don’t have to face this on your own. … And if you feel like no one understands, come to the one with scars on his hands.”

The ballad “Beautiful Redemption” compares her own life to those of people who faced troubles in the Bible — doubting Thomas, sinful Mary Magdalene and many more. She sings: “I am all of these. I cry Father, Father forgive me. You say, Child, I already have. You are beautiful, beautiful redemption.”

Among the other songs, “Silence” deals with the times that God answers prayer with silence, testing a believer. “I’m In Love With You” is a slow and sweet message to William’s husband, Nate. And “Child of Eden” examines God’s forgiveness and mercy.

Thematically, lyrically and musically, “Genesis” reveals a maturity that makes me eager to see the next step in William’s career.

On the Web:www.joywilliams.com.

Diving into dual discsAfter a few experiments with including DVDs and CDs together in new releases, the Christian music industry has turned to dual discs. The double-sided discs contain audio on a CD side and video and enhanced audio on the flip side.

The chart-busting MercyMe has set the pace by re-releasing its breakthrough album and its most recent album in the format. Both discs are worthy of the honor, offering rich musical and lyrical content that’s had a big impact on the mainstream, as well as Christian, markets.

The DVD side of “Almost There” — best known for the hit “I Can Only Imagine” — offers music videos, interviews, behind the scenes footage and the entire CD side in surround-sound audio. The meat of the video has been offered before on other DVDs, although this version provides a few updates.

The DVD side of “Undone” offers live performance, behind-the-scenes and studio videos as well as the surround-sound audio. Once again some of the footage has been offered on previous DVDs and much of the rest doesn’t delve too much deeper than previous efforts.

The bottom line is that those who have grabbed all of the previous MercyMe CDs and DVDs might want to pass. However, those who haven’t will be pleased.

On the Web:www.mercyme.org.

Today’s Praise is a roundup of news and reviews from the contemporary Christian music industry. It appears on the Religion page.


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