Ruined For Ordinary
- reviewed by Christa Banister Copyright Christianity Today International
- 2007 1 Mar
- Let Go Of Me
- Undercover Belief
- Holy Spirit
- What I Believe
- Look at Me Now
- Just a Breath
- Love Song
- Lone Ranger
When Nate Sallie debuted in 2003, he seemed to have everything going for him: poster-boy good looks, a great voice, and a batch of catchy songs. What he lacked, however, was identity. His music, a mix of teen pop and guitar rock, did nothing to distinguish him from the pack.
But after a four-year hiatus, including several delays from the business side of things, Sallie had plenty of time to prep his sophomore disc. Ruined for Ordinary is a departure, and it certainly shows. As if to drive the point home, he's sporting a decidedly different look, too. Instead of bed-head and a snug sweater meant to show off his hard work at the gym, he's buzzed off his hair and grown a goatee. For sure, this earthier style is also reflected in his music.
The production is certainly polished, and at times even epic on the Gospel-tinged "What I Believe" and the stunning piano-based opener "Breakthrough." But overall, Sallie's songwriting is more organic this time. In his press kit, he talks about how he "lost his life" as a result of "making things happen with my own might." When artists try to open up, most don't necessarily explain or elaborate on their struggles. Sallie does so with abandon here.
On "Undercover Belief," where Sallie's voice probably shines the brightest, he reflects on his newfound devotion to his faith without falling prey to the usual cliché s. He candidly addresses the power of influences in life—both good and bad—in the energetic, jazz-fueled "Look at Me Now." The worshipful "Ruined," a fitting closer for this album, poignantly asks, "Why would I walk away from a life where I had it all?"
The album isn't perfect, particularly the plodding "Divine," which uses hackneyed imagery about not being "a superhero" or "the richest guy." Still, Ruined for Ordinary is one of the year's most pleasant surprises—a quantum leap forward for Sallie's artistry.