- reviewed by Andree Farias Copyright Christianity Today International
- 2007 7 Jul
- Restore to Me
- Glory to You
- More Than Anything
- You Are Holy
- Holy God
- Beautiful Son
- Come on Everybody (Vamos Todos Juntos)
- There Is a City
By her own admission, Joann Rosario didn't like the way 2005's Now More Than Ever…Worship turned out. This is not because the Fred Hammond proté gé thought the album was below par or anything—it was actually pretty good. She simply didn't think it was a fair representation of her singing abilities. The singer was just recovering from a throat ailment, so every note she delivered was a struggle for her. (She could've fooled us.)
Now fully recovered, Rosario offers Joyous Salvation, her third album for Verity Records. Because she's got her full voice back this time, you would expect the disc to be more of a display of unrestrained freedom and praise. To an extent it is. Opener "Restore to Me" is one of the most jubilant, praise-filled songs the Radical for Christ alumna has ever written and performed—a surefire, gospel-styled call to worship, with Rosario leading, exhorting, and hitting every note with ease and command.
However, not all the album is like that. It's rather surprising how restrained much of Joyous Salvation is. As soon as the rhythm-laden "Glory to You" is over, things set into a soulful, meditative, and worshipful lull. Which isn't to say that the songs are any less effective, since some of them are actually quite gorgeous. The slow-burning "More Than Anything" is gospel soul at its very best, and the classical "You Are Holy" proves a Sunday-morning stirrer in the vein of Yolanda Adams' "That Name."
Where Rosario falters somewhat is her capacity to nail the songs on this album. She has it in her to totally run away with it, and there is at least a brief moment towards the end of "Beyond" where she lets loose and completely owns the lyric. She stops short of doing so everywhere else, however, perhaps out of cautious regard for her formerly infirmed instrument. Or maybe it's timidity, or because the songs themselves don't call for such fervor and melisma. Whatever the reason, it's unfortunate. As likeable as Joyous Salvation is, it's a missed opportunity to take Rosario to the top rung of gospel divas.