BarlowGirl is all grown up. And they have something to say.
Their new album, “How Can We Be Silent,” is so much of a leap from their previous work that it’s hard to recognize them as the same band. The majority of the album is a consistent call for all of us to wake up and do the things we’ve been asked to do. The lyrics are up front and abrasive at times, which is actually refreshing.
BarlowGirl has an affinity for minor keys and that is apparent right away with “Song For the Broken,” a tune that comes ripping out of the gate and sets the pace for the whole CD. That beautiful, almost sad mood continues with “I Believe In Love,” a song that contains some of the most thought provoking lyrical content on the album (“I believe in the sun even when it’s not shining… I believe in God even when he is silent…) as well as the most heartfelt musical moments. This would easily be the best song on the CD if it weren’t for “One More Round,” one of the most unique songs to find its way onto a Christian pop album in recent memory. The hints at jazz influence (and the lyrical comparison of the Christian walk to a boxing match) combine with a rocking composition and some sweet vocal jabs to deliver a single with knockout power.
The only bad spots on the album are tracks 8 and 9 (“Take My Chances” and “The Guy Song”). Not that either song is bad in and of itself; “Take My Chances” will probably be a great radio single. But that’s the problem; it sounds as if it was chosen and produced for radio consumption rather than chosen because it fits the tone of the album. Those two tracks break the feel that the first 7 songs laid down so perfectly. “I Don’t Regret” attempts to snatch that emotion back, but after such a digression, can’t quite pull it off.
The production on this album is beautiful and it forces the harmonies from the girls to really add to the songs rather than distracting from them, which was the case with some of their previous work.
Overall, this is easily the best thing that BarlowGirl has ever done; both lyrically and musically. I definitely feel comfortable recommending it.