Today’s Praise: Inspiring Barlow sisters break out
Stars and Stripes May 23, 2004
Three years ago, the punk-pop group Superchic[k] sang about sisters who shrugged off the dating scene.
While “Barlow Girls” became an anthem in the Christian youth subculture, the three Barlow sisters who inspired the song were honing their musical talents. Now, Becca, Alyssa and Lauren have released their first CD, the self-titled “Barlow Girl,” and they’re still not afraid to take a stand.
The women’s debut disc is defined by assertive lyrics, powerfully sung and backed by driving guitars. That comes through clearly on the opening track, “On My Own,” which calls out to God as “my last and only hope.” One of the best tracks is “Never Alone,” an extremely powerful song about the presence of God. Crank the volume and feel the guitars on that one.
Many songs pack messages aimed squarely at society’s ills. “Pedestal” blazes away at celebrity, “Superstar” examines ambition and “Clothes” slams the fixation with fashion. However, the group’s earnestness can also become a liability. For example, “Average Girl” — about waiting for the right guy — comes across as preachy. I’m sure the cumulative effect has set some eyes rolling.
While they know how to rock, the sisters also have a mellow side, displayed in the soft, worshipful “You Led Me” and the sweet “Surrender,” which closes the disc.
Overall, despite a few youthful missteps, Barlow Girl stands up pretty well.
On the Web: www.barlowgirl.com
The Barlow sisters are among the new groups getting a push on “Absolutely Worship,” which bills itself as a collection of 25 modern worship hits. “On My Own” is among the bonus tracks.
While this two-disc set is loaded with great music from up-and-coming artists, don’t expect to hear many of these songs at Sunday morning worship. Aside from a handful of tracks — Big Daddy Weave’s “Audience of Once” and Tree63’s “Treasure,” for example — the songs are designed for performance, not participation.
So, if you’re looking for a disc containing tunes from your contemporary worship service, you’ll want to look elsewhere. However, if you want a sampling of Christian music’s new generation, check it out.
The discs present an excellent cross-section of styles from the soft, plaintive strains of Shane Barnard & Shane Everett’s “Be Near” to Ten Shekel Shirt’s rocking “Ocean.” While this makes it rather difficult to maintain a consistent mood, it does provide a good opportunity to listen to something new.
On the Web: www.ferventrecords.com/AbsWor.html.
— Today’s Praise is a roundup of news and reviews from the contemporary Christian music industry. It appears twice a month on the Religion page.