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1 Stars Out Of 5
Almost nothing new; inadequate sampler
January 22, 2015
Compilation albums are often filler releases rather than noteworthy items, and unfortunately, Our Journey So Far (or OJFS for short) fills this description. It costs a lot, especially at full price, yet offers very little new content.
This compilation's first four tracks are from the eponymous album. There's their first radio hit, "Never Alone", and their second, "Mirror". Two other radio singles ("Harder" and "On My Own") are omitted on OJFS. In their place: "She Walked Away" and "Surrender". Fine choices, though i'd prefer "You Led Me" over "Surrender".
Next, there are three songs from their sophomore release, "Another Journal Entry": their two number one hits, "Let Go" and I Need You To Love Me, plus their top 20 hit "Grey". To me, the latter is okay, but the former ("Let Go") is very poorly refined. i'd gladly trade it for "Porcelain Heart" or "Psalm 73". I Need You To Love Me, however, was a great choice. It's my coup de cur: favourite song from this album, and possibly from all of BG.
Three tracks from "How Can We Be Silent" were included. There's "Here's My Life", "One More Round" and "Million Voices". The first was a Top 20 hit on radio, encouraging Christians to persevere with their faith despite the hardships that can arise. Next, "One More Round" experiments with mixing jazz and rock together; unfortunately, it greatly disappoints. Parts of the song that should have sounded like knock-outs end up coming across as air punches. "Million Voices" is the pinnacle of HCWBS, with aggressive guitars prompting a cry of faith.
Including their Christmas song "Hallelujah (Light Has Come)" on this compilation album is strange. When it's not Christmastime, my instinct is to save such songs until that season returns.
Strange is the overemphasis of "Love & War". It has their top 5 hit "Beautiful Ending" and the other radio single, "Stay With Me (This Is Not Forever)". Both melodies were very well received, reminding listeners to avoid worldly distractions and to keep walking with Jesus. The two other songs, "Our Worlds Collide and "Come Alive", weren't played on radio. Though these are neat, the messages (friendship with Jesus and being faith warriors) don't really stand out. i would have preferred "Sing Me A Love Song" and "Tears Fall" instead, which respectively share the very important message of seeing ourselves the way God sees us and of protecting prenatal persons.
Of the 16 tracks on this compilation, only one is unique to it: the FredTown Malina remix of INYTLM. Both it and the original are neat, but it's better to buy this track la carte, not pay this album's full price just for one track.
How does OJSF compare to other compilations? ZOEgirl featured two new tracks on WAOMH: "One Day" and the Top 20 hit "Unchangeable". Track 15, "Different Kind of Free", was voted as a "fan favorite". Jump5 had three new additions on their first compilation: "Don't Run Away", "Beautiful To Me" and a cover of "Friends". Even pureNRG (not a big fan) had two covers, one voted by fans, on their compilation! With this BarlowGirl compilation, it's as if the label didn't care: slap some songs and photos together to create a compilation album.
Yes: aside from the remix track, the only real appeal to buy this album is for the photo art put together by the sisters' family friend Sarah. The album art features a photo collage on the front, but the back only shows one of the three Barlows the quiet Rebecca, i would presume. Inside are two flyers, plus a leaflet with many pictures: the sisters, their parents, road buddy Beka, their producer Otto and more. Many fans love this, but the physical looks of bands like BarlowGirl or ZOEgirl never preoccupied me. It was always their hearts that mattered to me.
Overall, this compilation is only good value if it goes on sale for only a few dollars. It's nothing noteworthy, but it can serve as an okay sampler to give out as an introduction to BarlowGirl. Regardless, it is far from giving a complete picture of what the band has done throughout the years with their four full studio albums and beyond.