Francesca Battistelli was born on May 18, 1985 in New York City. Both of her folks were involved in musical theatre. Her major label debut was 2008’s MY PAPER HEART. In 2010 a deluxe edition dropped. She followed this in 2011 with HUNDRED MORE YEARS. A deluxe edition of it dropped this year on Fervent/Curb. Francesca won Female Vocalist of the Year at both the 2010 and 2011 Dove Awards. Of her music her website says: “Faith within struggle. Joy amid chaos. They’re key to what makes Francesca’s music so widely appreciated by critics, fans, and peers alike, and to why she has been able to achieve a long-stated goal: ‘to bring something authentic to the scene that even non-Christians could listen to.’”
Those who like the message of ‘Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus’ will value ‘Strangely Dim’ and its lyrics: “I’m gonna fix my eyes on all that You are/’Til every doubt I feel/Deep in my heart/Grows strangely dim/Let all my worries fade/And fall to the ground/I’m gonna seek Your face/And not look around/’Til the place I’m in/Grows strangely, strangely, strangely dim.” The album’s debut single ‘This is the Stuff’ speaks of the frustrations we encounter in life: “This is the stuff/That drives me crazy/This is the stuff/That’s getting to me lately/In the middle of my little mess/I forget how big I’m blessed/This is the stuff/That gets under my skin/But I’ve gotta trust/You know exactly what You’re doing/Might not be what I would choose/But this is the stuff You use.”
‘Constant’ is a bouncy pop number co-written with Jason Ingram. I like the everyday feel to the lyrics: “Okay I really don’t like change, but I can’t stop it/I’m moving forward anyway with the promise/You are the anchor for my soul/That’s all I need to know (2X).” ‘You Never Are’ is one of three co-writes with Jason Walker. It has an encouraging message: “Grace is underestimated/All you ever really have to do/Is take it/God is bigger than the times we fail/So why can we not forgive ourselves?”
‘Angel By Your Side’ is a nice country-like ballad about true friendship: “I’ll be the angel by your side/I will get you through the night/I’ll be the strength you can’t provide on your own/’Cause when you’re down and out of time/And you think you’ve lost the fight/Let me be the angel/The angel by your side.” ‘Motion of Mercy’ is a catchy song that tells of how Christ can change our lives: “Now I’m filled by a love/That calls me to action/I was empty before, now I’m drawn to compassion/And to give myself away.”
‘Emily (It’s Love)’ is a memorable song featuring Dave Barnes. It tells of God’s faithfulness: “It’s love that hung the moon and stars for you above/And stays awake to start the morning/If you feel you’ve had enough/He’s never given up/It’s love.” ‘Good to Know’ is a perfect pop song that offers hope to us prodigals: “It’s good to know/It’s good to feel the arms of grace/To know that my mistakes are covered by Your love/It’s good to know/It’s good to see that You won’t change/When it’s said and done/You’ll always be enough/To know that I can always come back home/It’s good to know/Oh, oh, oh, oh,/It’s good to know.”
‘So Long’ extols human companionship: “Still have the hard times when nothing’s going right/Just wanna pull the covers over my head/You gave me a new perspective/When the days get heavy and I feel rejected/There’s someone to run to/Since the day that I found you.” ‘Don’t Miss It’ is fast-paced musically but encourages us to cherish each moment that we have on this earth: “What if you took the time/To really soak it in?/’Cause someday you’re gonna wish you did/Like a September morning/Like snow without a warning/Like how the summer feels upon your skin/Take a minute maybe/Before the sun goes down/Breathe before your breath runs out.”
‘Worth It’ is a powerful ballad that reflects on one of the most powerful forces known to humankind: “Love’s not a feeling/Love’s not convenient/But I know love will change your life/Love takes sacrifice/Love cuts like a knife/Sometimes love will make you cry/Love’s not easy/But it’s worth it.” ‘Hundred More Years’ co-written with Ben Glover, is heartfelt and includes these lyrics many of us fathers can relate to: “She’s got blue eyes just like her mother/Three years old, he’s crazy for her/He wants to freeze this day before it disappears/She’s spinning like a little princess/Making sure he’s gonna notice/He could watch her twirl for a hundred years.”
‘Hold Out For Love’ co-written with CCM industry vet Cindy Morgan, spurs us on in the hard times: “When your heart is breaking/Hold out for love/When your faith is shaken/Hold out for love/When an angry word is spoken/Hold out for love/Gotta keep your heart open/Open, open for love.” ‘Something More’ is a strong song that begins by asking a couple of great questions: “What do you do when you get/Everything you wanted/But it’s not what you wanted after all?/What do you do when your dreams/Become reality, but deep inside/You know they’re not enough?”
The next song, ‘Trampoline’, admits to a deep need for Christ: “I know I’m only human at my best/’Cause I’ve tried to fly alone with no success/I need You, I need You/I’m falling into Your arms/You’re my Savior, You’re my Savior/Oh, how You capture my heart/You’re my Savior.” ‘In Your Eyes’ penned by mainstream artist Peter Gabriel, waxes spiritual: “In your eyes/The light, the heat/In your eyes/I am complete/In your eyes/I see the doorway to a thousand churches/In your eyes/The resolution of all the fruitless searches/In your eyes/Oh, I see the light and the heat/In Your eyes/Oh, I want to be that complete/I want to touch the light/The heat I see in your eyes.” This deluxe edition of HUNDRED MORE YEARS ends with an early take of ‘This is the Stuff’ and an unplugged version of ‘Angel By Your Side’.
In the liner notes Francesca writes: “I want to thank Jesus for loving me and continuing to let me do this for His glory.” She adds: “This record is dedicated to my amazing mentor and manager, Norman Miller, who went to be with Jesus this year.” Francesca is a fairly modest but beautiful young lady, making her a good role model in the vein of Jaci Velasquez and Carrie Underwood. HUNDRED MORE YEARS is a vibrant, contemporary pop record with spot on vocals that are rich. There are numerous well crafted songs here that have a relevant Christian faith message for today. I’m rating this deluxe edition, which runs over an hour long, 90%. For more info visit www.francescamusic.com and www.wordlabelgroup.com.