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Christian Music - Reviews, News, Interviews

Love Someone Like Me

  • reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2002 1 Aug
  • COMMENTS
Love Someone Like Me
Sounds like … pop styles ranging from adult contemporary to Latin and teenage dance-pop, drawing from the sounds of artists such as Jaci Velasquez, Janet Jackson, Rachael Lampa, Selena, and Britney SpearsAt a Glance … there are some good moments on this album and Patty is clearly a talented Christian artist, but Patty's range of styles is a little too broad and unfocused.

Patty Cabrera has a musically diverse background and a fairly impressive career that's lasted more than ten years, yet she's only got two previous albums to show for it: 1991's self-titled debut and 1996's Always and Forever. What has occupied the time in-between? Well, the Pacific Union College graduate has gone back to graduate school for a Masters in Religious Studies at La Sierra University. Named one of People magazine's "50 Most Beautiful People" in 1996, Patty also serves as a spokesperson for Metro Ministries, which reaches out to more than 20,000 urban youth worldwide. For the most part, Patty has busied herself touring within and outside the United States, as well as preparing the launch of her own production company, Patrona Productions. The first release on the new label is her own, Love Someone Like Me, which she's been working on since May of 2001.

I must plead ignorance to the sounds of Patty's first two albums, but she describes her latest as "a pop record with Latin flair," splashed with R&B and folk. Aside from the folk music, all of those genres are represented in her sound to extreme measure. Many of the 12 tracks are soft ballads that immediately bring Jaci Velasquez and Rachael Lampa to mind, especially the title track and "Finally." There's also a handful of Latin tracks, such as "Love Come Down" and "Can't Stop Thinkin' About You," which are clearly Patty's forte and passion. It's a shame these songs sound so similar to each other, but they're still about as good an example of contemporary Latin pop as you'll find, along the lines of Selena and Jaci Velasquez. You'll also find a number of R&B-flavored dance-pop tracks, such as "The Cure," in which Patty unconvincingly mimics Britney Spears, going so far as to rap in the bridge. In "Touch Somebody's Heart," Patty uses just about every R&B and teen-pop element conceived, including the infamous "Cher warble" and a lot of sexy, breathy whispers by Patty over her singing. "Live Your Life" sounds like a classic Janet Jackson track, though perhaps a little too classic because of the dated-sounding production.

There's a difference between being eclectic and being unfocused, and I think part of it has to do with understanding and knowing your audience. I personally love it when artists display eclecticism, but Love Someone Like Me is too extreme in its diversity. The R&B tracks are too urban sounding to share an album with such mature and soft ballads. Parents and kids rarely listen to the same kind of music, so I'd be surprised if kids embraced the ballads as much as the teen pop, and visa versa for the parents. While Patty doesn't do a bad job with the dance-pop sound, you don't expect a 34-year-old to sound like Britney Spears. Love Someone Like Me alternates too much between inspired moments and pop clichés. Patty does a lot of styles very well, but we don't need to hear them all at once.

The best moments on the album are where you'd least expect them. There's a one-minute instrumental interlude between two of the tracks, comprised solely of guitar and bass. I'm not sure why it's included, but the progressive pop atmosphere is similar to Sting and Seal, and I wish Patty had written a complete song around it. Most will likely agree that Patty is at her best performing inspirational ballads such as "Finally," "Hand on Me," and the title track. Incidentally, these three are the most Christian themed of the album. Pay special attention to "Love Is Just for Two," a very poignant and romantic song written by Patty's brother Greg about waiting for the true love God has planned for us. Patty sings her heart out on this one, and as it begins to fade out, you hear a young man (presumably Greg) sing part of the chorus in the distance, suggesting it's God's intended for Patty — a very clever and romantic way to reflect the longing shared by single men and women. You'll also find an inspiring "bonus track" called "America," written in response to the September 11th tragedy. Like most patriotic-inspired songs, it's simultaneously cheesy and powerful, but ultimately effective.

Strangely enough, my favorite track is "Dulce Milagro," though I barely understand Spanish. (The title translates to "Sweet Miracle.") Of all the songs, this one comes closest to expressing Patty's love of folk music. It's beautifully written, and Patty's vocals are wonderfully soothing. She sounds like a Spanish Norah Jones, and it's enough to make me wish she did a full album of such music. That's but one way Patty could have gone, rather than branching off in so many diverse directions. Still, I appreciate Patty's entrepreneurial spirit, demonstrated by the fact that she wrote, performed, produced, and even marketed her album. Fans of Jaci Velasquez, Rachael Lampa, and Stacie Orrico will enjoy Love Someone Like Me – if not all of it, then at least a good chunk of it.


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