Review: Mandisa – What If We Were Real


Sparrow Records

Released April 5 2011

Reviewed By Tyler Hess

Forgive me if I actually talk about the music here.  I’d rather talk about that for once, rather than talking about Mandisa’s performances on Idol or her weight loss or any of that fluff that takes away from the quality of the actual music, you know, if you’re into that kind of thing.

Mandisa’s regular full length label release, What If We Were Real, starts off with a straight up pop song called “Stronger”, full of simple and catchy lyrics to help someone get through the tough times, a common theme throughout the album.  The title track comes up next with a few short lines of unusual angst, used as a call out to not hide our brokenness.  “These Days” takes us in hook, line and sinker with a track that could have fit on a Francesca Battistelli album, but lyrically could be given a twitter hashtag of first world problems, like not liking Mondays.

I guess it was about time for a ballad, so Mandisa serves one of those up with “The Truth About Me”, followed by the 90’s piano pop song “Say Goodbye” that describes our identity being in Jesus Christ.  This is all just a lead up to “Good Morning”, a synthesized keyboard track featuring Tobymac, with the two friends working together again for a fun song.  “Waiting For Tomorrow” is little more than a filler track that tends to plague contemporary Christian music album, trailed by another ballad in “Just Cry”.  “Temporary Fills” talks about avoiding the fake-ness of quick fixes, “Free” busts out the strings section to talk about the freedom in Christ, before “Lifeline” closes us out with an Amy Grant style ballad.

I can’t deny that there are a couple of catchy lines on here, but overall it just seems like What If We Were Real plays it a little too safe and middle of the road to be of much real inspiration, lyrically or musically.  I know that there are people that are looking for just that, but I’d rather see such talented vocals be put to the use of daring music.

Grade: 2.5

Tracklisting:

  1. Stronger
  2. What If We Were Real
  3. These Days
  4. The Truth About Me
  5. Say Goodbye
  6. Good Morning (featuring Tobymac)
  7. Waiting For Tomorrow
  8. Just Cry
  9. Temporary Fills
  10. Free
  11. Lifeline
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