Diary of a Church Girl (EP)
EchoPark ARTS Entertainment (release date: May 20, 2016)
By Bob Marovich
The word “testimony” could be substituted for “diary” in Diary of a Church Girl, Latice Crawford’s introspective and autobiographical follow-up EP to her self-titled debut album.
Many know Crawford as second runner-up on BET’s Sunday Best during the show’s second season. The five-track Diary of a Church Girl is a chronicle of the singer’s journey to overcoming loss, financial issues, and anxiety through a renewed spiritual commitment. Most importantly, Crawford notes, the EP is “my desire to be accepted and loved in the midst of loss.”
Not surprisingly, given this premise, the EP opens starkly—just Crawford and minimal accompaniment. “Choose Me” is a prayer closet conversation during which Crawford shifts from simple request to passionate plea. She wants badly to be chosen by God to serve Him, even if she knows she is not exactly the perfect vehicle. On the other hand, she reminds God that “Moses lacked eloquent speech, but you still chose him.”
Next, to a soundtrack chock-full of chirpy piano triplets, Crawford sings “In Love with You” as an evocation of spiritual passion and an apology for giving her heart to everyone but God.
Although the mood of the EP shifts gradually from vulnerability to victory, Crawford’s’ vocals do not alter. She embellishes each song with flowery ornamentation and summons an evangelist’s growl whenever the lyrical and musical emotion grow to boiling. On the single, “Author,” Crawford wants God, as the author of her life, to make her better, but spiritually, not financially. Her supplications become gut-wrenching; another prayer blazes its way to heaven.
“Look at Yourself Again” calls for everybody to embrace their imperfections and distinctiveness because, she sings, “that’s what makes you who you are.” It’s a sentiment Crawford owns, having shaved her head to remind youth that they do not need to fit themselves into the stereotypes about beauty to be beautiful. And Crawford is beautiful in her baldness.
“Whatcha Gonna Do?” is the closer. It is Crawford dropping the mike and doing some body-shaking rejoicing because the storm has passed over and she has made it through. The mashed potato beat gives the song the air of a B-side, when such things as B-sides were commonplace.
The only regret is that Diary of a Church Girl is brief. This is a message that could be extended over a full-length album, but perhaps keeping listeners wanting more is what Crawford is striving for. And I’d rather listen to 20 minutes of well-considered music than 75 minutes of the same ol’ same ol’.
Four of Five Stars