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A More Accurate Title Would’ve Better Served Brave

  • Christa Banister Contributing Writer
  • 2014 25 Jul
A More Accurate Title Would’ve Better Served <i>Brave</i>

Artist: Moriah Peters
Title: Brave
Label: Essential Records

Like Francesca Battistelli before her with My Paper Heart, Moriah Peters’ major-label debut, I Choose Jesus, showcased an effervescent new talent who clearly planned on staying around for a while.

Combining a confident vocal delivery with a distinct point of view both musically and lyrically, Peters was young but sang about faith in a way that couldn’t help but resonate with believers of any age. Instead of relying on tried and true clichés, she spoke from the heart with an endearing sensibility.

No doubt, a lot changes between albums when an artist’s budding career begins at 19, but growing up shouldn’t mean that all traces of past whimsy get the heave-ho. Just in case one didn’t sense that Peters is all business on Brave, check out the cover art. Like Jennifer Lawrence heading into the Hunger Games, Peters stands with the steely resolve of someone heading into battle. Trouble is, many of the songs that result don’t necessarily match up with the intended message.

Bravery is supposed to be about taking risks and heading into riskier, bolder territory, but everything from the lackluster title track to the predictable strains of “Leave It All Behind” and “Stand Strong” lack any sort of forward thinking. Fitting neatly in the constraints of Christian pop radio, the production is slick with predictable hooks and little in the way of the jazz and soul influences that made her previous work such a delight.

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It’s not that an artist can’t—or shouldn’t—evolve from project to project, but Brave bares such little resemblance to its predecessor that one can hardly believe it’s the same artist. Shouldn’t change lead to something better, richer, more complex and intriguing?

While it’s clear that Peters still “has it” from a vocal perspective, one can’t help wondering what the rapid change of direction, sonically and otherwise, means for future efforts.

All things considered, one can only hope Peters will opt for some of the more compelling artistic choices that made her one to watch in the first place. In the meantime, Brave can’t help feeling like a giant step backward.

*Published 7/25/2014

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