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Angie Winans: Melodies of My Heart

Stylistically, Angie Winans’ Melodies of My Heart (Against the Flow/Diamante ATD6075; 51:34) is all over the place, with a bit of funk here, a bit of soft soul there, some relentless dance rhythms, ethereal synth, and even spoken word. At its core, of course, Winans’ work is contemporary Christian, filled with very specific religious references, rather than the more typical him-means-Him love songs.

Just how contemporary Winans gets is the variable here. A crisp, high-sheen funk backgrounds the word-for-word “Lord’s Prayer,” while the maddening pace and stylized vocals of “Let ’em Go” could be found on a Janet Jackson album (albeit with different lyrics, no doubt). These strong statements, along with the stiff-fingered piano and funky strut bass of “Mack Avenue” hang together, but make other tunes, like the ethereal prayer “I Wonder,” and sweet, melodic (and quasi-secular) tale of inspiration, “Roses Again,” feel strangely out of place. Stranger still is a pretty arrangement of an overtly religious reworking of “Killing Me Softly,” titled “Changing My Whole Life (The Summer of ’88).”

The total effect is a little-bit-of-everything hodgepodge, leaving one to wonder whether Winans could start a whole new movement in contemporary Christian music by exercising her inner dance diva just a little bit more.

Originally Published