Prime Cuts: Cheshire Cat, Deal Breaker, Loving a Person (Reimagined)
Overall Grade: 4/5
In her own words, Sara Groves can "see into the soul of things." One of Groves' greatest strengths as a songwriter is that she avoids cheap sentimentality. Rather, she delves into the complexities of emotions expressed through carefully chosen words and heart-tugging poetic lines. Despite the clumsy titular, What Makes It Through is a ruminative and a thought-provoking album of 9 songs. What Makes It Through also finds Groves functioning as the sole producer of the record, a first for her.
Keeping abreast with the times, the neo-acoustic sounding "Soul of Things" is definitely a song Adele or Taylor Swift in her "folklore" mood would covet. "Soul of Things" sets the underlying message for the album: sometimes the least understood person is our own self. This observation is explored in the relationship-oriented "Deal Breaker." Inspired by Kazuo Ishiguro's "Remains of the Day," the song of the same title deals with the current plight of how many church leaders have fallen from grace. A song that wisely reminds us that we shouldn't view leaders as "statutes of gold."
In a society where people are too busy or/and selfish to open to each other, "Rendezvous" is a prick to the heart. Gorgeously putting her soft alto to great effect, Groves gently nudges us to be "tough and vulnerable/not bear it all alone." Following in a similar lyrical trajectory is Groves reimaged version of "Loving a Person," a track she previously recorded for her "Add to the Beauty" album. "Reach Inside," which is full of quotable Instagram-able lines, speaks of how real change isn't always easy.
However, unlike her previous albums, God is not a protagonist on this record. Many of these songs may emanate out of Christian values, but there is nothing specifically biblical. There is no "He's Always Been Faithful" or "Maybe There's a Loving God." If it were not for Groves' back catalog, it would be a challenge to even label this a "Christian" album. In an album that thrives on the complexities of relationships, Groves'' relationship with her Maker is not mentioned. One certainly hopes she's spiritually okay.