– Music review “Feed Your Soul” by Crista Wells

PHOTO: Crista Wells. Photo by Laura Johnston 2010 ©
By Albert Nall, Staff Writer for The Current

Cover art for “Feed Your Soul” by Crista Wells

Songwriter Crista Wells released her third CD “Feed Your Soul” on August 13, 2013. Recorded by Zodlounge Music in Nashville, the press on the new release is that her sound and style is rhythmic and sassier than ever.

Wells recorded a solo album and two extended plays (“Frame the Clouds,” “Before the Tree Comes Down,” “How Emptiness Sings”) and teamed on several other projects with artists such as Nicole Witt and Natalie Grant. A song that Wells wrote, “Day by Day,” which was co-written with Tiffany Arbuckle Lee, (who goes by the stage name Plumb) was recorded by the all-female trio “Point of Grace” and reached number one on the Billboard Christian Market charts in 2003.

As a songwriter, it is easy to see why Wells is an award winner; she is clearly at the top of her form in that area. Her songwriting style is evidently forceful, riveting and quite polished. The beat is fascinating, enthralling, and mesmeric and has great zest.

The problem is the superficiality of her lyrics. In contrast, the meanings of her songs project a great deal of pretension, paltriness and triteness. If her songwriting form is brilliant, she is just as stale, corny and unoriginal in her lyrics. The CD tries to posture itself as an exhilarating, expansive and mature expression of creative inspiration and insight.

Instead, the sophomoric style and message actually reveals itself as uptight, and edgy. It appears that the sage she is trying to advance to the audience is something that has been tried before. It is as if Wells is forcing on the listener, a morality that is prone to make the audience just as neurotic.

The general objective of Christian music as a genre is really a form of introspection and a quest to delve into the meanings and purpose of life. Further, the genre can spearhead activist causes inspired by “Shine,” the fourth song on “Feed Your Soul.” The message of this song is well meaning and customary for Christian music; “Color this world, Say it your way!” “Be the one to take a stand!” The song is backed up by child vocals at the end of the selection which is quite charming.

With that said, nobody would expect Wells to project the legendary crossover appeal of an Amy Grant. It is worth noting, however that a song called “Held” which is the signature song of Natalie Grant, was written by Wells. The song is the poignant tale of the loss of a child that is truly tender and compassionate. Wells won Songwriter of the Year by the Gospel Music Association in 2006 for “Held. This is what made Christa Wells a great prodigy as a songwriter for some of Christian music’s legends, and she needs to return to that.

Crista Wells CD “Feed Your Soul” can be purchased for $15 at christawellsmusic.com. Also selections from the CD can be downloaded from i-Tunes.

©  The Current 2013