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reviewed by Russ BreimeierCopyright Christianity Today International
Sounds like … acoustic-based pop that most resembles Aaron Shust, Jason Mraz, and Warren Barfield, with comparisons to Shaun Groves, John Mayer, Bebo Norman, and Howie DayAt a glance … there's still room for lyrical growth, but Lavik's second album proves he has a knack for matching melodic hooks with occasionally thoughtful words to yield catchy pop songs about the Christian conditionTrack Listing Changing Happy Father Nothing Compares What If Come to Me Hear Our Song Just Like You On the Outside Meant to Be Never Alone Searching His Name Shall Be Called It's Yours
In his own words, Jadon Lavik has enjoyed "a respectable start," though it's also been somewhat understated thus far. The 27-year-old singer/songwriter initially hoped to become a baseball star, businessman, or pastor after college before eventually falling into a music ministry internship at Rick Warren's Saddleback Church. That experience soon drew the attention of BEC Recordings, turning Lavik's hobby into a music career with the release of 2004's Moving on Faith. Though it eventually yielded the hit "What If," the album never drew much attention—yet Lavik still landed an opening slot on Rebecca St. James' 2006 spring tour.
The buzz behind Lavik becomes more apparent with Life on the Inside. Whereas the first album seemed too restrained and simplistic, this one features brighter production, fuller arrangements, and catchier songs. And the inclusion of a slightly improved "What If" only seems to confirm that this album is more reintroduction than follow-up. Though Lavik's acoustic pop style might draw initial comparisons to John Mayer and Jason Mraz, he's actually closer to Warren Barfield, Howie Day, Bebo Norman, and up-and-comer Aaron Shust stylistically. It's all in all a pleasant pop album featuring a great voice (particularly "Just Like You" and his falsetto on "Father").
Lavik's writing skills are still a work in progress, though. Anyone familiar with Isaiah 9:6 and numerous other worship songs knows exactly what to expect from "His Name Shall Be Called," while "Come to Me" and "Nothing Compares" similarly come off predictable in music and lyrics. But Lavik proves capable of depth in songs about redefining our outlook ("Changing Happy"), the pursuit of truth ("Searching"), life's journey to heaven ("On the Outside"), and living according to God's timing ("Meant to Be"). This isn't profound songwriting, and there's room for growth. But Lavik is adept at matching words with melodic hooks, proving with this pleasant pop effort that he is indeed one to watch.