New Day Christian Distributors (2016)
By Bob Marovich
Martrisha Atkins (aka Trisha Alicia) is a singer-songwriter and spoken word artist whose album, Pieces, is a string of selections designed to tell a story—her story—not so much to achieve personal catharsis, though I’m sure it does, but more so to help others better understand their own story.
With the notable exception of the title track, one of the album’s lyrical high points, don’t expect Trisha to hand her story to you on a silver platter. Instead, she offers droplets of truths throughout the album, which on its surface is about an individual holding onto a relationship with Jesus in the midst of a confusing post-modern society. For example, “Gold Rags” critiques how mass commercialization dictates the rules of beauty and meaning while ignoring the human spirit. Those who fall for the hype can, in Trisha’s assessment, say truthfully that the devil made them do it.
Trisha’s songs and poems are bathed in synth, beats, strings, and assorted electronic magic associated with today’s pop culture, suggesting that she’s chosen a vernacular backdrop to get the attention of those who need to look beyond the vernacular. When not rhyming, Trisha delivers lyrics in a conversational style and often with rapid fire force. On the other hand “He Loves Me” is a lovely, lilting ballad that celebrates God’s love for her (and by extension, you). It is the most accessible track on an album that, like poetry and spoken word generally, requires repeated listening to get the full impact.
Christian hip hop star Canton Jones cameos on “Promises,” which humorously notes that God didn’t need to major in optometry to give eyesight to the blind.
The best poetic moments arrive during “Grace,” the final selection. Trisha likens the lack of faith and confidence among God’s people to a caged bird who doesn’t fly to freedom even after the flap to the cage door is lifted. The part where Trisha Alicia, an engineer by education and training, examines in rhyme the composition of the metal cage, is riveting (pardon the pun). “The dreams of a world beyond the cage could become reality,” she declares, and therein lies the urging personal message of Pieces.
Three of Five Stars
Picks: “Pieces,” “He Loves Me.”