Review Rating: Must Listen! [4.8 / 5]
Drummer, vocalist, passionate voice for Christ - Jen Ledger has an impressive arsenal of musical talents and passions. As a staple of beloved rock band Skillet, she has become a powerful voice in CCM circles. Still continuing upwards and onwards, Jen's self-titled solo project continues these trends and gives her a chance to try some new tricks. LEDGER doesn’t hold back a thing; this is Jen at her best as a vocalist, songwriter, and battle-cry leader.
Jen's pre-released "Not Dead Yet" instantly captivated listeners with its engaging sounds and familiar yet novel battle themes. Electric guitar riffs and electronic synths build the melody while subtle drums provide support, creating an energetic and bold atmosphere. As Jen's vocals shine across the track, the chorus rages with themes of perseverance and endurance, even when everything falls apart. "I'll go on fighting while there's breath in my lungs," Jen cries out, "because I'm not dead yet!"
Fighting on with God's strength is the dominant theme of this EP, amplified by powerful sounds and vocals. "Warrior" and "BOLD" definitely showcase these traits - "Warrior" pounds with guitar riffs and drums that expertly switch between gentle buildup and crashing fury while "BOLD" generates powerfully rising electronics to create inspiring and motivating moments. "Iconic" closes the album on an upbeat note, hailing the Savior as the ultimate source of strength, joy and satisfaction.
Of course, the album takes moments to bring the listener away from the fight - "Ruins" gently describes how God interrupts lives with His love. Coming from an accomplished drummer with a heavy rock background, Jen amazes with this beautiful track. Piano and strings dominate the raw, acoustic melody as the song flows gracefully. Its lyrics, however, are gripping. Counterintuitively, Jen describes God in a surprising way - how He took a life, turned it upside down, shook it up, brought it to brokenness and to ruin. "Your love left me in ruins," Jen sings, shattering the perception with five simple words: "Won't You ruin me again?" It's a beautiful picture of surrender and the struggle that follows - no one enjoys having their pride shattered, yet Jen perfectly paints just how good it is when God brings us to the end of ourselves and closer to Him.
Most impressive, however, is "Foreigner." Dramatic and massive, the sounds of the track create a thematic piece with a mixture of impressively melding songs - subtle pipes, driving guitar, a hint of chimes, some electronic elements, and of course, thundering percussion. The payoff from verse to chorus is incredibly satisfying, as Jen's vocals cap off the crescendo with a powerful cry of identity. Her lyrics describe the struggle of living in a world contrary to Christ, driving the truth that we do not belong here and we are foreigners until we're called home. Easily the height of the EP, "Foreigner" is a pleasant surprise and sure to become a fan favorite.
Without hesitation, LEDGER is a strong EP - bold, unashamed, and full of potential. This is Jen Ledger at her best - it is fantastic to hear her unleash everything across each of these tracks. There's a word to perfectly summarize this collection: power. There's power in each note, each lyric, and in the strength of the Savior that Jen ever so clearly glorifies.