Album Remarks & Appraisals:
Dedicating this new project to those who are hurting and lonely, Winans focuses on uplifting songs that center on God' strength when we are weak. An honorable idea, but each song has the same mid-tempo feel, and the album loses some of that positive energy as it goes along. But the biggest distraction from Winans' amazing voice is the 1990s-like production. The drum samples and synth parts, especially on "The Healing Part," are thin and very reminiscent of old Amy Grant. The songwriting is solid, but this album needs a little modernizing and a splash of variety.
"Back in the 90's I was a huge pop music fan and Eternal were one of my favourites. One of their last singles was a duet with BeBe Winans (I Wanna Be the Only One) and I remember reading at the time about the Winans being a big Gospel music family so I put this album on from CeCe Winans expecting full on gospel to hit me.
What I got was an album somewhat more reminiscent of some of the non-radio friendly tracks you would have found on Eternal's later material. Mix a Disney album with a non-epic (i.e. not of the I Will Always Love You variety) Whitney Houston soundtrack and you're pretty close to Songs Of Emotional Healing.
Don't get me wrong, this is a pleasant album and I know there is a market for it - a market that will love the new material from CeCe and see the great elements in it - but I am not a member of that audience.
Most of the songs seem to float along pleasantly suggesting they will build to something which never seems to materialise. In terms of lyrics, a lot of very predictable rhymes throughout, but each song is a positive and beautiful message.
I'm not saying this is a bad album - like I said, I can appreciate it's market and I do think that in those terms it is a good offering - but if you aren't a fan of CeCe already, I can't see this persuading you." - LouderThanTheMusic
Recording information: Abbey Road Studio, London, UK; Blue Heaven Studio; Cedarmont Farms, Franklin, TN; Dark Horse Studios, Franklin, TN; Fairway Studios, Anniston, AL; Father's Image; Father's Image, Brentwood, TN; Fun Attic Studios, Franklin, TN; Ocean Way Studios, Nashville, TN; Quad Studios, Nashville, TN; Shut The Door Studio; Sound Emporium, Nashville, TN; Sound Kitchen; Studio LaCoCo, Atlanta, GA; The Bennett House, Franklin, TN; The Lodge.
Photographer: Derek Blanks.
The theme of CeCe Winans' ninth album, Songs of Emotional Healing, is contained in the title. The all-ballad collection is devoted to offering spiritual support for the emotionally battered, and Winans starts at the bottom with "It's Gonna Get Better," a song intended to dissuade potential suicides. "Please don't throw your life away," she implores, "Joy will come." Winans' vocal similarity to Michael Jackson, who died in the year preceding this album's release, gives the song a disconcerting element that is unintended but hard to ignore. Having persuaded her listener that life is worth living, Winans moves on to "The Healing Part," asking "What About You" before declaring "You Are Loved." Then, the overtly religious section kicks in, as, against an acoustic piano, she reveals "He's Concerned," adding "His Strength Is Perfect" and "He's Always There." Strangely, the album then concludes with "Comforter," which is sung to God and makes it sound like He is offering comfort to the survivors of someone who has died. Maybe Winans is simply covering all her bases; if she can't stop a suicide, at least she and her God can move on to the survivors and deal with them. Of course, there's not really that much rational thought behind the album's songs; the point is that God is here to help, and CeCe Winans is here to convey His message in her soothing voice. ~ William Ruhlmann