Different Kind of Beautiful
- reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
- 2001 1 Jan
Why beat around the bush? Whisper Loud is the latest entry into the girl pop genre that is dominating mainstream and Christian music. If you're not into the Spice Girls/Britney Spears/Christina Aguilera phenomenon that has become girl pop, you probably shouldn't bother. But if you're a fan of V*Enna, ShineMK, ZOEgirl, Aurora, and Stacie Orrico, then by all means read on.
So what sets Whisper Loud apart from the rapidly growing pack of girl groups in the Christian market? Frankly, not a lot, but that's not important. Comprised of three teenage girls from Oklahoma (Tessa Gaskill, Keri Blumer, and Alana Carris) who have been friends since childhood, they stay true to the genre and do it well, thanks largely to very crisp production by Mark Hammond. This is very meat and potatoes girl pop, similar to ZOEgirl and V*Enna, and not cheesy like ShineMK's debut. At times, I'd say Whisper Loud sounds exactly like the Spice Girls at their softest, or perhaps a remixed Point of Grace. They are generally not as "intense" or in your face as V*Enna and Aurora, but they're not adult contemporary either. There are danceable tunes, but Whisper Loud strikes me as a slightly softer teen pop group with less edge (if it can be described that way).
And just like these groups and their mainstream counterparts, there's nothing particularly profound about the music or the lyrics. The melodies are predictable and the words are simple and clichéd. But then again, that's the genre we're dealing with here—it'd be like complaining that heavy metal has too many loud guitars. Fans of the teen pop craze like it for the singable melodies, the beautiful vocal harmonies, and a beat you can dance to. And of course, fans of Christian teen pop want all of that plus a clear Christian message. Whisper Loud's songs have plenty to say about God's love ("God Loves You," "All the Love in This World," and "I Will Carry Your Pain") as well as general Christian living and evangelism. It's simple and it's been said before, but it's aimed at teens and their unsaved friends. And it's certainly a better alternative to the lyrical content of Britney Spears and the Spice Girls.
I don't mean to belittle Whisper Loud and the teen pop genre too much. This is the music that millions of teens are growing up with today, and I'm very glad there are alternatives to the sexual promiscuity preached by the mainstream girl groups. I'm simply expressing a critical point of view, which realistically sees that most all of these girl pop groups will fade away within five years, and it's unlikely that they'll be remembered for their artistic excellence. But in the meantime, these girl groups are here for the teenagers of today who will listen. If the gospel is effectively preached to a small generation of today's youth through teen pop, it more than justifies the existence of groups like Whisper Loud.