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LABEL: Essential Records RELEASE DATE: June 7, 2005 GENRE: Pop Rock
// review by Jeff

Avril Lavigne, you have competition... sort of.

Krystal Meyers. Ever heard of her? Nope. Me neither. But she's cute. And she is apparently popular enough to warrant a #1 hit in Japan. I don't know how difficult it is to get a hit in Japan, though -- I've had about five over the years, including the now obscure track "Stained Tunic Surprise". Er... anyway, Krystal Meyers can best be described by me as "the religious equivalent of Avril Lavigne". As soon as I heard the first track on this album, I immediately made a connection between Meyers and Lavigne. Of course, while Lavigne chants about boys and other things that tick her off, Meyers portrays herself as a devoted girl of God and tries to pass on positive Christian values through her pop rock facade. But most interestingly still is the fact that Avril Lavigne and Krystal Meyers has used the same production team. w00t. So the similarities are not unfounded.

This is Christian rock, and as such, the songs have a faith-based tinge to them. That is, the lyrics generally are directed more towards her devotion to God and how she is guided by His words (even though she only mentions the name "God" twice on the entire album). However, if you aren't really thinking that way, you'd probably believe that the songs are about perhaps a boy that she likes -- both would be acceptable. Now I am not a religious person myself, and therefore I don't believe I have the right to argue with the content of the lyrics. But what I CAN say is that, unfortunately, this album comes off as nothing more than an average collection of songs that show off another angle in the batter for a generic rock loaf. All the songs have that punk-floss sound that artists like Avril Lavigne are known for. The lyrics themselves are pretty standard fare, following the general patterns that one might find when examining the results of a high school English poetry assignment. They balance themselves off as having both negative and positive aspects to them, but after listening to the entire album, you will probably feel that it delivered an overall positive vibe about life and faith. Hopefully, that was her motive!

The Way To Begin is a good way to begin the album, by showing off the clean vocals of Madame Meyers while exposing what will become the general sound one will come to expect. But she seems frustrated about how her life is going; she requires the Grace of God to save her! Yes! And I suppose with that thought in mind, we can continue on our electric-guitar-sporting journey through the krystalized tunnel of joy. My Savior follows this, and I think it's pretty obvious what that song's about. (I'm guessing her faithfulness to her Savior...) And holy cow, does she sound just like Avril Lavigne here. If I didn't know better, I'd swear that Avril decided to take the vocal reigns here. Nutty. Fire also continues the trend of the previous tracks, where she notes that God is lighting her...inner fire? It must be a metaphor for her spirit, and if not, then I'm as confused as anyone else. But this trilogy of songs sound generally similar; they are pretty much canonical as pop-rock of this caliber typically is.

There's a song on this album called Fall To Pieces, and I find that rather unusual, considering that on Avril Lavigne's second album ("Under My Skin"), there's a song of the same title. It's also important to point out that "Fall To Pieces" have ended up being my favourite songs on both albums. Thus, you now know where my favouritism lies here. This song is the most catchiest, at least according to my walnut brain. At first, I actually thought this WAS about her hypothetical boyfriend (I may have picked it up when she sings "When I'm broken I see / Only you complete me / Yeah, without you by my side / I fall to pieces every time") but I've later come to realize that, again, God takes precedence here. Fair enough; I should've seen this coming.

Reflections Of You is a slower-tempo equivalent of the previous songs, but it's still somewhat pleasant. Guess what it's about! Yup. And as she openly states, "your love is the reason I'm alive". So...I guess there's no other reason to live. Got it. Lovely Traces is also a slower, more acoustic song, and nothing is particularly flagrant about this track at all. Still, the same subject matter applies. I don't even think I need to mention this anymore; I need not repeat myself any further!

Anticonformity is interesting because if you listen to it, it's actually a very conformist song. A bland song, true, but also conformist, yes. I mean, it's a very standard "everyone-will-like-this" style of pop-rock supply while delivering a pretty common message that all artists seem to be doling out -- be your own unique self! *awaits the Krystal Meyers clothing line* This song seems to have also spawned a small community of people who want to stand out and tell their stories about God to fellow believers. As the website states, "Anticonformity is becoming the person God wants you to be, not the person the world wants you to be." [1]

Rescue is the other notably catchy track on this album that actually sticks in my head. It's another one of the more sluggish offerings here, certainly slower than the original trilogy of tracks on this album. The final two tracks, Sing For Me are Can't Stay follow the general trend of the CD as well. "Sing For Me" is another slow track, perhaps even a little lounge-ish at times, but certainly not a stand-out by any means. "Can't Stay" is probably the hardest-hitting track in terms of its electric guitar use (at specific points in the song, at least), but if you read the lyrics, they're actually very dull -- sorry, Miss Meyers, but...yeah, what a livid way to end your album.

The target demographic for this CD seems to be teenagers in need of "cool" music that also happens to deliver an enlightening journey through their faith. If this is what you seek, this may be the album for you. But if you are looking for anything beyond the depth of generic girl-rock, you'll probably want to pass this up in exchange for more favourable musical treasure. Plus this CD is under 37 minutes in length -- what a ripoff!!

[1] Quote taken directly from Anticonformity.net.


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