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LABEL: Virgin/Forefront Records
SPECIAL EFFECT(S): The teen's new video has already aired on MTV's TRL; her sophomore album is a major mainstream pop event, made especially unique by its positive message.
PRODUCER(S): Dallas Austin, Dent, Sean Hosein & Dane DeViller, Mooki, Matt Rollings, Tedd T., Matt Serletic, Stacie Orrico and The Underdogs – Damon Thomas & Harvey Mason, Jr.

Stacie Orrico's self-titled second album could be a ticket to superstardom. Building on the success of her gold-selling debut, Genuine, the teenage vocalist is now co-signed to Virgin Records and her latest single, "Stuck," is already a hit on MTV and mainstream pop radio. And although that particular song lacks lyrical depth ("I ain't trippin'...You know what I'm sayin'"), there is enough spiritual substance, not to mention exceptional talent, on Stacie Orrico to make it easily recommendable to her core Christian fan base.

A major new development in Orrico's sound is the prominence of muscular electric guitars on several tracks. The rockin' chorus to "Stuck" reminds one of Christina Aguilera's recent "Stronger," and the superbly melodic "(There's Gotta Be) More to Life" echoes Michelle Branch's "All You Wanted." Still, Orrico is at her best when showing her hip-hop/pop sensibilities. Groove-driven cuts "Bounce Back" and "Hesitation" recapture the fun and faith of her first set, while "Maybe I Won't Look Back" exceeds anything she's done before, taking incredibly creative hairpin curves in a rap-sing style similar to Craig David.

Orrico helped write over half of the project, and her convictions clearly emerge on "Instead" (Christ-like care for the outcast), "Strong Enough" (God's grace), and "I Could Be the One," where she sings, "Lord...I want to show how great You are."

It's a delicate balance, taking one's beliefs into a musical marketplace that seemingly glorifies every deadly sin. But Stacie Orrico enters here with increasing artistic merit and uncompromising integrity.

—David Schrader