Introspective and socially conscious, Natalie Grant’s newest project, Awaken, is as equally a record about her journey to self-awareness as it is a call for others to make the same journey. It is 13 songs that revolve around the theme that each life must count for something, that each day should be a pursuit to find one’s God-given purpose.

Pop music fans will not be disappointed as the album moves from full-on power pop to string-laced ballads. “Awaken,” “Something Beautiful” and “What Are You Waiting For” are power anthems made genuine through Grant’s passionate interpretation, while the more stirring “Held” and “The Real Me” are equally compelling. Grant co-wrote six songs on the record, and country music icon Wynonna Judd makes a special guest appearance on the gospel-infused “Bring It All Together.”

Just as with previous album Deeper Life, Grant’s Awaken builds on solid production and showcases her vocal prowess. Listening to Awaken is a comfortable, non-jarring experience. It actually sounds quite familiar. Perhaps that is due, in part, to the production and Grant’s voice, which make the tunes catchy and easily accessible. But it could also be the nature of the songs’ melodies and lyrics — they sound like everything else out there. Grant does work to sell the standard lyrics with her passionate delivery, however.

All in all, there is much in the message and sound of Awaken to stir fans of today’s Christian pop.

Copyright © 2005 Christian Music Planet, used with permission.

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