I was recently given the opportunity to review Kari Jobi’s newest album, The Garden, I was excited to review this as I had greatly enjoyed her previous work, Majestic. It was eclectic, upbeat and something I wouldn’t mind listening to over and over. So it was with excitement I accepted the opportunity and began listening to The Garden.
The Garden Deluxe Edition starts off quite nicely, albeit a bit too much electronic music for me but there is a definite worship style that has been built on her experience as a worship leader. It was her work within the Christian market that ultimately had her being nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Christian Album and 4 nominations for the Christian version, The Dove Awards of which she won 3 Doves.
In my experience with Christian music, there is definitely a place for the Christian audience and The Garden will appeal to that audience. It has some great worship tunes that are easy to listen to and can easily lead one into an attitude of worship. As to a non-Christian or non-follower of Jesus, the project will be something they don’t quite get or understand as it is most definitely a project specifically directed towards the Christian audience, it is if you will a Christineeze (speaking in the language primarily only Christians understand) project. I don’t blame Jobi for that, she and her handlers most likely understand this is her market. There are other artists, however, like Mary Kathryn who have taken on this role but the music keeps the attention and the vocal variations for the non-Christian audience can be entertaining for some time. In that regard, Jobi’s project is a bit lacking.
I found myself experiencing a bit of monotony as I listened to this album a number of times in preparing for my review. That feeling was supported by others who joined me for their first listen, with comments like “I like the songs, but after awhile the music all sound the same.” That has me at a strange place as I review this project, while I am a fan of Kari Jobe, one that loved her previous work, I find myself really loving two or three songs at a time but after that, so much of the album sounds so much alike that it loses me. I think this is for a variety of reasons which I will explain. The project seems to be heavily driven by electronics and studio effects along with the same vocal and musical styles. I personally prefer the live sound, feel and variety included in the production and mixing process. I just don’t feel that in some ways it falls as short for me as another artist whom I love, Amy Grant, whose electronic remix of her hits was somewhat of a travesty. While The Garden is a long way from being a travesty, it is quite good with some highlights in individual songs, it is just very repetitive and in my opinion, not Jobe’s best work.
I expect the album will actually do quite well because each song on its own is quite nice and acceptable for radio airplay but accumulatively, as a whole, it fell short for me and those who listened to it as a collective with me. Again, not because it is bad, but because it is so repetitive.
On a scale of 1 – 10, Unfortunately, I found The Garden to be somewhat mediocre, so for that reason, I’ve given a score in the middle, a 5.
Take a listen to the album’s title cut.