Reviewed by Dale Lewis
Freedom by Mandisa
"Freedom is Mandisa’s overwhelming expression of a free gift received . . . openly shared without any hesitation or watered-down lyrics."
Mandisa, a former
American Idol (top 12, season 5), returns with a strong sophomore showing
in “Freedom” produced by Brown
Bannister and Chris Stevens. Mandisa performed with such Idol notables Chris
Daughtry, Katharine McPhee and eventual champion Taylor Hicks. Even though
I will never be asked to be an Idol judge, all I can say is “She definitely
has some powerful pipes and a passion to equal her voice!”
The now-famous derogatory remarks made by Idol judge Simon Cowell are forgiven and forgotten. The good coming out of those comments is that it allowed Mandisa an opportunity to become a positive role model for women struggling to live up to popular culture's image of the "ideal woman."
“ Freedom’s” lead single "My Deliverer" is downright funky with a pulsating bass, complimented with an exuberant melody and Biblical lyrics: “My Deliverer, You rescued me from all that held me captive, My Deliverer, You set me free, Now I’m alive and I can live, So every moment, I will give you praise My Deliverer.”
The values of our culture easily seduce us and Mandisa counters that certain road to disappointment with my favorite title, "The Definition of Me." She empathically states that her (our) identity alone is found in the truth of God with an up-tempo beat which also features Blanca from Group 1 Crew. I could listen to this one all day while attempting to dance in my living room!
There are no sappy generic love songs about God being the “He” in our lives. "Freedom" creatively overflows with bold affirmations of God and His character and grace as well as all-out praises to the Almighty Creator.
The best songwriters, Matthew West, Tony Wood, Sam Mizell and Aaron Rice, from current contemporary Christian music have contributed to the Christ-centered lyrics on “Freedom.” Under each title in the CD booklet is a Bible reference or two to solidify the truth woven into each song -- whether it’s a heartfelt ballad like “Broken Hallelujah” or a straight ahead pop effort like “How Much.”
There is an authentic earnestness in her vocal renderings, a simple desire to influence others by spreading the grace of God through her music.
"Freedom" is Mandisa’s overwhelming expression of a free gift received . . . openly shared without any hesitation or watered-down lyrics.
Prime cuts for this reviewer: "The Definition of Me", "My Deliverer", "How Much", "Not Guilty" and "He is With You".