Beauty Has Grace
Jaci Velasquez's precocious singing talents and vivacious energy had already won her impressive success in both the Contemporary Christian and Latin pop markets. On this album, she declared her stylistic maturity by favoring modern rock elements over the salsa and light R&B rhythms of earlier efforts. Velasquez sings with a breathy restraint, toning down some of her diva dynamics of the past. “I’m Not Looking Down” and “With All My Soul” are indicative of the gleaming textures and melodic drive heard on these tracks. The simmering “Prayer To Love” and the rough-edged “When You Hold Me” show her ability to bring a sensual urgency to spiritual themes. At times, Velasquez sings God’s praises in language that comes close to the dreaded “Jesus-is-my-boyfriend” syndrome. Overall, though, her spirit-centered outlook is clearly present. Beauty Has Grace makes the case that Velasquez has the substance to become a singer and songwriter of more than teenaged appeal.