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When Avril Lavigne hit the scene, she was touted as the anti-Britney, countering the pop princess’ shallowness with a grittier view of life. Apparently, it’s time for an anti-Avril.

Enter Krystal Meyers.

The 16-year-old Tennessean hit No. 1 on R&R’s Christian radio charts a few weeks ago with “The Way to Begin” from her new self-titled debut CD.

From her looks to her punkish sound, Meyers follows Lavigne’s lead — which isn’t a surprise since she worked with the same production team. However, the big difference is Meyers’ message of hope. At first, Lavigne’s disdain for trendiness seemed refreshing, but it didn’t take long to realize that most of her songs lacked real hope.

Much of Meyers’ disc deals with letting go of problems and fears and letting God take over. The CD opens with the hit single “The Way to Begin,” about feeling disconnected from God and calling out for his aid. It’s summed up in the line: “I’ve reached the end and you are the way to begin.”

Many of the other songs follow the same theme — the need to connect with God when the weight of worldly pressures and temptations bears down. “Fall to Pieces” and “Reflections of You” are two of standouts in this category.

In the middle of the disc, Meyers switches gears with the mellower “Lovely Traces,” a mournful-yet-hopeful song inspired by a girl who often cut herself.

The disc pours on the energy again with “Anticonformity,” which rails against “pressure from my so-called friends. … I’m measured by some stupid trend.” The music and lyrics are an assertive jab at one of the top concerns in teens’ lives.

This is definitely a disc aimed at teens and since Meyers wrote or co-wrote all of the songs, it reflects genuine feelings and concerns.

And while she might be open to charges of being a Lavigne clone, Meyers shows a lot of potential in delivering a solid debut.

On the Web:

Fantasy musicContemporary Christian artists have lined up to support this year’s big-screen fantasy — “The Chronicles of Narnia.”

The Disney film, which opens Dec. 9, is based on the novels by C.S. Lewis, one of the premiere Christian apologists of the 20th century. The action begins with a group of children who experience the redeeming power of self-sacrifice and much more in a fantastic land torn between the forces of a talking lion and a witch.

Singers who’ve signed on to the project include Steven Curtis Chapman, Jars of Clay, Jeremy Camp, tobyMac, Nichole Nordeman, Rebecca St. James, Delirious?, Kutless, Bethany Dillon, Chris Tomlin and David Crowder Band.

Chapman will lead off with “Remembering You,” which will release on radio Aug. 5. Two CDs will be released in September and October.

On the Web:

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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