When Jessica McLean asked if I'd review her Creation Melody EP, without hesitation, I said I'd do it. After all, I liked her full-length Designed to Dream CD. From Designed to Dream, "Ocean Song" is still among my favorites. Having developed my musical taste on classic rock, and picking up a particular liking for heavier stuff like Alice Cooper, ZZ Top, Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, Designed to Dream's female vocaled light acoustic style was a bit out of character to fall among my repeated listening albums, but I still like it. I guess my taste in music has broadened as I've aged. These days, I find myself listening, on purpose, to rap, bluegrass, goth, some punk and a tiny touch of extremo-screamo and even black gospel. When I was growing up, I prided myself on flaunting my dislike for disco (Yeah, I do like some Abba, but that's beside the point), and I'd have absolutely nothing to do with... with... Well, Jessica did it this time. She pushed me out of my comfort zone and into some c… c… (brace yourself, Paul, and just say it) country music.
To look at Creation Melody's cover art, it'd be difficult to guess the style. The artwork is a blend of pen and ink and watercolor. The mix of cool and warm colors are such that one would find it quite difficult to guess the style from the album's appearance. The first, and title song carries the same theme as her earlier album's "Ocean Song" with its praise for how God reveals Himself through His creation. It also features some neat bluegrassy banjo picking tucked quite nicely into the light pop style of the song. Brand New Day presents a message of when you fall down, to get back up and start over. Don't give up! It starts with a slightly country style, and I even thought I heard a bit of steel guitar in the intro. Then further into the song, I realized, yes, that IS a steel guitar! I think steel guitar makes a song almost unquestionably "country". But I couldn't fuss about it! That struck me as odd, because I always thought, "I don't like country music." Maybe the mandolin helped carry me through the steel guitar (am I obsessing?). I guess, like my old abhorrence of country music, it's in God's will for us all to grow and experience life anew.
"Enjoy the Ride" (track three), is also a slow country-pop waltz-style song. On only my listening, I picked up a message to enjoy the life God gives us because we never know if we'll get a tomorrow. Track four, "Psalm 42" sings that Psalm's message of when you're down to remember that God is faithful and does not forget you.
In the printed material, Jessica describes the songs as, "…These songs come from both tragedy and victory; seeing God through creation, a loved one's struggle with addiction, a close friend's death, and a prayer of hope and rest..."
The EP has an overall light pop feel. While the steel guitar might make some folks squirm, the other instrumentation and Jessica's gimmick-free clear vocals make for a pleasant, relaxing listen. But when I say "relaxing" I don't mean the put-you-to-sleep sort of relaxing. From the self-mixed harmonies (beautiful stuff!), to the traditional instrumentation and reassuring solidly-scriptural lyrics, "Creation Melody" is a sweet listen! Lyrics would have been nice, but Jessica's voice is so clear, they're really not needed. And nice work, Jenna, on the album art.