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Something More: Something to Celebrate

  • Christian Hamaker Senior Editor, Arts & Culture
  • 2001 12 Dec
  • COMMENTS
<I>Something More</I>: Something to Celebrate
If you think you know Ginny Owens from the intimate, delicate phrasing of If You Want Me To or I Am Nothing from Owens' Rocketown Records debut, Without Condition, prepare to be surprised by Something More. Owens' sophomore effort for the label straddles pop and R&B with lyrical grace, assurance and downright joy.

The title doesn't lie. Something More is something both different yet stronger than Without Condition, bringing the knowing lyrics and thoughtfulness of Owens' debut to a project that magnifies both, backed by Owens' emerging self-confidence that listeners will follow where she wants to take them. She's right.

Those who have an aversion to an "electronic" sound, preferring the more organic production of Owens' more popular songs from Without Condition, should be prepared for the full arc of Owens' musical interests expressed on Something More. Leaving little to doubt, the album's liner notes give second billing (right behind Ginny) to the person in charge of "programming," followed by percussion, bass and guitars.

Something More announces its intentions early on, with a snaking vocal loop that provides a segue from the album's Prelude to With Me, a confident, ebullient response to the promises of God. The loop is initially awkward, but repeated listens soothe the roughness of the transition, once the listener knows the treats that await.

The album's lead single, I Am, points to the source of Owens' confidence: an unchanging, eternal God who calls weak individuals to great things, part of God's "bigger picture" for mankind.

The sassy title track throws down the gantlet (There's gotta be something more than running circles for a living / Gotta be something better than just trying to survive / Gotta be some important puzzle piece that I am missing / Gotta be something more to life), meeting the challenge with a divine answer: Tired of these hopeless places / Bored with my earthly things / So I must fill my empty spaces / With the Love that Heaven brings.

Those who desire the softer, introspective Ginny will be moved by This Road, a spare ballad that addresses the concerns expressed in I Am with a sweet resignation that God's will be done through both the good and bad in life, resting in the One who can lead us through the darkest times.

Shades of Fiona Apple, without the cynicism and anger, hover over I Know Someone, which exposes the "fortress" we build around ourselves and exalts the freedom God brings. My fortress was a cage / He granted me my freedom / Since then I haven't been the same / I don't know much more than that / But I know someone who does.

A lone electric guitar introduces the heartfelt Simply Love You, but any pretense to a stripped-down sound is quickly expunged, as the album returns to the beat-driven The Hand and True Story, which starts soft before flowering into a big chorus: You see my imperfections / Still You say I'm a masterpiece / A Marvelous reflection / The image of Yourself in me.

The album takes a late breather with the beautiful All I Want to Do and Ginny's arrangement of Be Still, My Soul, both of which express a longing for the peaceful recognition of God's will.

It's hard to say where Owens will go next, but who would want to? For now, we have two penetrating, intelligent CDs by a thoughtful young artist who trumps easy classifications. That's not only "something more," it's something to celebrate.