Best Laid Plans
- reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
- 2004 1 Aug
- Last Goodbye
- No More Tears
- Find You Out
- 500 Miles
- Where Do You Go To My Lovely
- Took You For Granted
- Sons Of Cain
- Age After Age
If Sheryl Crow fully embraced her alt-folk and roots/country tendencies, she'd probably sound a lot like Sandra McCracken. Fans of intelligent acoustic pop/rock songwriters like Kendall Payne, Sarah McLachlan, and Jill Paquette are likely to appreciate McCracken's lyrical insights. And if you enjoy the voices of Christine Denté, Mindy Smith, and Nichole Nordeman, McCracken's got a similarly appealing grassroots alto.
Not that this talented artist is completely unknown to the Christian music scene. Most enthusiasts of independent music are aware of her previous two acclaimed albums: 1999's
That resumé may seem a bit misleading to anyone who goes into McCracken's latest recording expecting an album of explicitly Christian songs. But
Yet McCracken balances these with the potential for reconciliation. "Find You Out (What Matters)" explains that perseverance and understanding are both needed to make a relationship work: "Nothing ever goes as we plan, so I will lay it down so I can find you out/All I meant to say, all the words we waste, we can work it out/Let's rebuild this house, 'cause when it's come and gone, we realize what matters." Emily Saliers of the Indigo Girls lends harmony to "Took You for Granted," an openly stated plea for forgiveness: "Bend the doors off their hinges/Let me in, and rid all that hinders love/Remember back where we began."
Hints of McCracken's Christian faith are nonetheless sprinkled throughout
Then there's "Last Goodbye," also about reconciliation and the one song clearly directed to God. The lyrics? (also cited above) express weariness and a longing for the Lord's kingdom to come and make all things new: "I'm ready to go tonight/Ready to reconcile/Worn out with all I can buy or borrow/Trade all my best laid plans/Death and the fear of man/Take from Redemption's hand." It's not a hard song to interpret, which makes it all the more interesting that it was the one chosen by Shell Records to be a radio single in the UK. Which just goes to show that Sandra McCracken's unique approach to songwriting has allowed for an equally unique opportunity to become salt and light to the world.