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Broken Things

  • reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2006 1 Sep
Broken Things
Sounds like … earthy acoustic pop/rock in the same style as Margaret Becker, Sheryl Crow, Jill Phillips, Shawn Colvin, Ashley Cleveland, and Carolyn ArendsAt a glance … Kim Hill's latest is a return to the roots rock of her earlier albums, offering meaningful songs of brokenness and grace that aren't too broad or generic, yet still relatable to most anyoneTrack Listing Here Inside of Me A Million Pieces Lover of My Soul Wide Deeper You Don't Belong Here Run Away Blame Somebody Else Shelter Clean Just the Same

A decade of leading worship for various women's conferences has earned Kim Hill a loyal following among inspirational adult contemporary fans, but it's also led many to assume that she was through with the styles that first made her famous. After all, she hasn't made a rock album since 1991's Brave Heart or a country album since 1994's So Far, So Good.

Now comes Broken Things, produced by Paul Ebersold (Three Doors Down, Third Day), a return to form for Hill that combines the sounds of her two greatest albums to yield a solid roots rock effort reminiscent of Sheryl Crow, Ashley Cleveland, and Shawn Colvin. And though she co-wrote half of the songs, the album also features contributions from Margaret Becker, Third Day's Mark Lee (the excellent Southern rocker "Lover of My Soul"), Jill Phillips, and Kate Miner (whose classic piano ballad of unconditional love, "Just the Same," is absolutely fantastic in lyric and melody).

Even more striking is the way the album zeroes in on themes of grace by personalizing it with specific mindsets of brokenness. "A Million Pieces" depicts someone who has trouble embracing God's acceptance of our imperfections, and "Wide" challenges another person to drop the guilty weight of a sinful past, while the country-flavored "Run Away" points to the Lord as one we can fearlessly open up concerning sin. "You Don't Belong Here" is particularly gutsy, suggesting that divorcees and gays shouldn't bother going to church if they're only going to find hatred instead of unconditional love.

Such examples help make broader songs of grace like "Deeper" and "Shelter" all the more meaningful, offering answers to problems like these and more. As a single mom who went through divorce, Hill knows something about hurt, yet you get the sense that Broken Things couldn't have been made without a decade of experiences through the women's conferences. Since everybody hurts, it adds up to an album that's convicting and poignant for both women and men.

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