Review Rating: Add It To My Playlist! [4.5 / 5]
It took a few singles to make Riley Clemmons an up-and-coming favorite in the CCM scene. A young and talented artist, Riley boldly stepped up her game with a new album release. Her first, self-titled, album provides listeners with encouragement in a context of a chaos, a reminder of how good God is at all times.
Riley starts an upbeat and inviting album with the bright "Hold On," an encouraging note based on perseverance and the strength God supplies "I found my faith dancing through the fire," Riley joyfully exclaims in the lyrics, "by the grace of God, I'm a survivor!" Pop-electronic sounds create a peppy melody that only continues to brighten across choruses, certainly matching the song's themes of joy and relief. From the get-go, Riley sets up listeners for an enjoyable album experience.
This optimism continues into "Saving Me," a pause from the quick pace of the opening tracks. Bright keyboard, chimes, electronics, and background vocals drive Riley's vocals. Hitting lower notes across the verses and projecting with abandon and a higher voice across the choruses, Riley demonstrates her range. Her lyrics describe the comfort in knowing that Jesus saves and refines His own - meaning none of us have to worry when we don't have it all figured out.
"Broken Prayers" was Riley's big entrance into the CCM world, captivating listeners with an engaging melody and relatable, sincere lyrics. Building from a place of humility and brokenness, the song slowly rises across the verses and escalates into a rising, joyful, relief-filled expression of surrender. Drums, soft electric guitar, keyboard, and electronic pings and synths build the chorus from beginning to end, taking the song from more somber points to expressive joy. Lyrics describe the power of a prayer from a broken place - and how God can even use our lowest moments for good. A piano version is included at the end of the collection, allowing Riley's vocals to resonate more clearly with listeners.
"I'll Stay" returns full-circle to close the album on a personal note. Gone are the upbeat electronics; strings and piano notes craft a gentle, flowing melody with a somber yet hopeful sound. It's a beautiful and simple declaration, one where Riley, amidst words and lyrics of hurt and brokenness, draws from God's faithfulness. Inspired by her relationship with her family, "I'll Stay" is a fantastic way for Riley to finish the collection.
Riley Clemmons is off to a good start with this album. Her music is sure to continue resonating with listeners and each of these tracks only adds to the proof. It's a wonderful blend of encouragement and comfort, energizing listeners here and offering a sincere expression there. Without a doubt, Riley Clemmon's first release is well worth the listening.