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Christian Music - Reviews, News, Interviews

All the Time in the World

  • reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2002 1 Aug
All the Time in the World
Sounds like … the energetic teen pop of A*Teens, Baha Men, and ZOEgirl – kind of like Avalon for kids.At a Glance … there's not a lot of depth here, but you shouldn't expect it. It's fun and positive dance pop for kids.

It's important to remain objective and maintain perspective when it comes to music reviews. We can't criticize a metal band for being too loud or an easy-listening crooner for singing slow songs. The same is true with Jump5. This quintet of teenagers who met through dance classes in pre-school is geared for a younger audience. Don't look for any depth and innovation here because those weren't the goals. As it says in their press materials, Jump5 is "simply about making people happy" and having fun. In other words, All the Time in the World is music for kids into dance-pop, parents of such children, and adults into the music of ZOEgirl and Avalon.

If you're still reading at this point, you're either a fan of this music genre or are already a fan of Brittany, Chris, Lesley, Brandon, and Libby. It's amazing how quickly teens grow up. In just a little over a year since their debut, Jump5 has outgrown braces and most of the members are ready to begin driving. No doubt you're aware that they've enjoyed considerable success on Radio Disney and on high-profile tours with mainstream teen artists. In a nutshell, if you liked Jump5's debut, you'll like this new one.

All the members of Jump5 are Christian, though half of the album has very little to do with faith. Fellow Sparrow recording artist Michelle Tumes wrote "Summer Song," a simple summer vacation anthem for kids (or anyone, I suppose): "Cruising underneath a cloudless sky / When we feel the sand, we know we've arrived / Everyday and every wave's a sweet ride / We will take our time until the tide says goodbye." Written by Zarc Porter (of World Wide Message Tribe) with his long-time collaborator Mark Pennells, "Throw Your Hands Up" is nothing more than an energetic dance-pop anthem designed to get the blood pumping at the concerts: "Throw your hands up and make some noise / Everybody get live and jump for joy / When I say reach, you touch the sky / From the front to the back from side to side." As for the first single, "All I Can Do," it's one of those songs that could be interpreted as being about a relationship with God or about a budding romance. I have to lean towards the latter based on the language of the song: "I gave you good reason to walk out that door … I know some people say that opposites attract/If that's the truth then we will be together forever."

Rest assured that there are some spiritual songs on All the Time in the World. The funky beats of "Joyride" carry a message of simplistic evangelism: "You see me and you wonder how I got like this / And maybe if you had it all you could comprehend … Life is a joyous ride if you want it to be / I'll take you to the other side and maybe you will see / Leave all the pain behind, there's a greater love / Eternity's no mystery, you'll find the hope you're dreaming of." A hip-hop pop groove propels "Diamond," which reinforces self-esteem and reminds us that we're all wonderfully made by God. "Forever in My Heart" expresses a simple message of faith and obedience to God's will: "Now and forever I'm with you / Wherever you lead me, I'll go too / We'll be together I know it's true / Now I know that you are / You are forever in my heart." And then there's the disc's solitary ballad, "Angel in My Heart," about the intimate and everlasting relationship we share with God. As a side note, am I the only one dumbfounded that it took no less than SEVEN songwriters to come up with such a simple ballad? The royalty checks must be miniscule!

Let's talk salt and light for a moment. Regardless of what adults and discriminating teens may think of Jump5's music, they're making a significant impact on the world. They spent this summer touring with A*Teens and Baha Men, and there are plans for them to go on tour with Aaron Carter again this fall. As mentioned earlier, Jump5 has enjoyed mainstream radio play via Radio Disney, and the quintet will be featured prominently on the new DVD re-release of Beauty and the Beast, with their re-recording of the hit title song. This music may not be thought provoking, and the evangelical content is fairly simplistic, but let's remember the age group Jump5 serves. Musically, the band's not all that different from Roxette or Debbie Gibson from my high school days, or the Osmonds or Frankie Avalon for that matter. Jump5 mostly serves as a group of positive role models for their peers, but they're still a Christian presence in the culture at large. I once heard that more than 80 percent of Christians come to know Christ before the age of 18. If Jump5 proves to be an effective way to share the Gospel with younger children, more power to them.

As for the CD, it's a very slight improvement over Jump5's debut. Producer Mark Hammond gives the music a first-rate, over-glossy dance pop sound that's a little more mature than the bubble gum of the first album. The drawback, however, is that it's also much shorter. A mere 38 minutes in length, 3 of the 11 songs are remixes of other tracks on the album. You're essentially buying 8 songs that span 27 minutes. It may be a bit fluffy and simplistic, but Jump5's music continues to be a safe and fun alternative for kids while carrying the light of Christ to a wider-than-average audience