Review Rating: Must Listen (4.0 / 5)
Holly Miller, more popularly known by her fans as Hollyn, has hit the ground running since her first release. As listeners enjoyed the catchy, engaging pop sounds of "Alone" and "Nothin' On You," she took her music on the road with the Hits Deep Tour, spent studio time with TobyMac and Diverse City, and teased fans with an upcoming album release. Hollyn's hard work and relentless passion have paid off - the same energy and honesty that made previous singles so beloved is clearly present in One Way Conversations.
The album opens with "Can't Live Without," a dynamic and bright track that will remind listeners of "Alone." Gentle pop sounds and electronics compose the melody as Hollyn's vocals take center stage, only for the tempo and energy to pick up on approach towards the chorus. The lyrics are personal and quite honest, expressing a need for the love of Christ in every aspect of one's life. It's a theme Hollyn has sung of before, but this track stands out for its style and serves as an excellent introduction to her latest work.
The track "Love With Your Life" was pre-released as a single and has become a favorite amongst Hollyn's fans. It's quite an easy song to be drawn into, what with its energetic, bright, moving, almost bouncy melody. The drums and synths beckon listeners to clap or sing along, while the guitar and electronics drive the upbeat tempo. Hollyn's lyrics are an anthem of loving like Christ, urging audiences to show their Savior's love through actions in how they live. "There's a hope that lives in you," she sings, "… if you want to see a change, you gotta love with your life!" At the end of the album is a remix of this song, courtesy of Capital Kings, that capitalizes on the energy and tempo and creates a fantastic rendition of the track.
Hollyn demonstrates the extent of her musical arsenal with "In Awe," a slower, deeper song that leans towards the worship genre. The electronic emphasis is decreased as guitar strings and piano notes coax the melody along. The lyrics turn from lighter and catchier to deeper and more contemplative. "You're so holy and worthy, You know where I've been … You didn't need me at all, but You couldn't love me more," Hollyn sings, words of pure and honest awe. An incredible, beautiful song indeed - and certainly a track that stands out in the album.
There are a few pop-heavy tracks that are fun but don't seem to drive the album forward. For instance, "All My Love" seems a little too surfacey for listeners, and "Party In The Hills" leaves listeners with energy but little else. Even with "Go," Hollyn's collaboration with TobyMac, the sounds are catchy but the lyrics leave a wake of ambiguity. They certainly have the instrumentals and melodies to engage listeners, but they battle to leave them with a takeaway once the song ends.
One song stands out from the rest, both taking advantage of the catchy pop sounds and strengthening the impact of the lyrics. "Lovely" capitalizes on electronics and pinging chimes, even throwing synthesized strings into the mix. Here, Hollyn contrasts the world's standards for beauty with how God truly sees us. "I love that You are thinking of me, all those other voices fade away when You call me lovely." This is where One-Way Conversations stands the strongest.
One-Way Conversations is an excellent start for a promising, fresh artist. Straight from the beginning, Hollyn's music captivates listeners. Her vocals blend well with the variety of sounds expressed across each track, and the sincerity of her verses amplify the impact. With bold ambition, engaging tracks, and personal lyrics, One-Way Conversations has certainly set Hollyn up for an exciting future in CCM.