Joy Elizabeth Williams was only 17 when she was first signed to Reunion Records. Though she was originally a Christian contemporary singer, she is most notably known for being half of the folk/rock band, The Civil Wars. Before the band broke up, the duo won four Grammy awards. Some have been holding their breath as to what Williams's solo album, Venus, will turn out to be: insanely amazing or horribly disastrous.
The truth is - it's neither. It's a solid album with promises of even better things to come. Venus, which Williams describes as her "coming-of-age album" is the perfect description for an album full of truthful lyrics, universal emotions, and an overall feeling of self-acceptance.
In just under 40 minutes, Williams tackles how she handled the breakup of The Civil Wars (What A Good Woman Does), heartache and pain (Until the Levee), and the duality in which women are often portrayed (Woman (Oh Mama)).
Before I Sleep is the first track on the CD and it's a good opener. It has strong vocals, a catchy tune, and it's easy to pick up the words and sing along. But don't get me wrong, Williams has not turned away from her folk-y roots, she's just added unexpected elements to them.
Woman (Oh Mama) is one of my favorite tracks on the album but its upbeat tempo doesn't seem to fit in with its otherwise slower sisters. Despite its simplistic lyrics - the song gets stuck in your head and feels empowering.
Until the Levee is probably the track the most similar to The Civil Wars. With great drums and an ethereal feel, her voice stands out powerfully against the music.
With 11 total tracks on the album, I found that I like and constantly listen to three-quarters. While listening I heard similarities to Dido, Florence + the Machine, and something that wouldn't be out of place in a Disney movie.
This solo album, she said in an interview, is about a "way to move forward. To heal." It sounds as if she has accomplished that. With Venus, she has weaved all the emotions of her life into lyrics and melodies.
I participated in the Joy WIlliams Venus album review program as a member of One2One Network. I was provided an album to review but all opinions are my own.