Sarah Masen impresses with her self-titled debut album

Posted: December 5, 2011 in Alternative, contemporary christian
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

In 1996, Contemporary Christian music, as a genre, was starting to take off with the likes of girl-groups such as Point of Grace, as well as such mainstays like DC Talk, the Newsboys, and crossover-pop queen Amy Grant. The nonchristian music world was enjoying the likes of Sarah Machlachlan, Sheryl Crow, Alanis Morissette, Jewel, Blues Traveler, Soundgarden, and Lisa Loeb. However, the two musical worlds collided with the release of Sarah Masen’s 1996 self-titled debut album. Masen’s debut album is nothing short of insane awesomeness with a dash of quirkiness and creativity. The lead-off track and hit single on Christian radio, All Fall Down, proves that Masen is very creative in both lyric (“the fool stands only to fall but the wise trip on grace – all fall down”) and overall sound. Never has a guitar sounded like it came straight out of a Beatles tune since Phil Keaggy entered the scene in the 1970’s. Other songs such as Break Hard the Wishbone, Tuesday, and Fly Baby sound a bit too mellow, but not unbearable. Lyrically, songs such as Flames of Truth sound great. However, it still sounds too mellow. Masen takes many cues from her influences on the Sheryl Crow-Jewel-tinged rocker Unveiled Faces. If anything, Masen does sound like Lisa Loeb, but is more talented than her both lyrically because of the spiritual metaphors that she uses about finding Christ on Downtown. Masen sings “In the middle of our human condition/ is the emerald city of our saving provision/ and we wrestle and struggle/ till we can hardly stand/ and we drive downtown into that praying land/ but what we want most is home/ what we want most is home.” Come In is one of the best tracks due not only to what it talks about – feeling awkward in a new place, but also in its overall sounds: it gives the feel of awkwardness that works extremely well. This songs screams “I’m awkward and so are you. Let’s be awkward together and be friends.” Sarah Masen’s debut album was a critical success. All Fall Down was even featured on the 1996 soundtrack to the hit television show Party of Five. It’s a wonder why Masen didn’t build on this success and achieve greater noteriety both within the Contemporary Christian music community at large as well as with her mainstream counterparts. (like maybe getting booked for a few spots on the Lilith Fair tour?) Sarah Masen’s self titled debut album is 100% a winner.

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