Review: Brooke Fraser – Albertine


Label: Wood & Bone

Released: May 27, 2008

I’m not going to write a record review of Albertine. If I were, the review would be short and sharp: generic Christian adult-oriented pop, blah blah blah, whatever.

But there’s something great about this album that I can’t dismiss with a handful of snarky words and superficial judgments. So instead of writing a review of Albertine, I’m writing a reaction. My reaction isn’t to the music, but rather to the story behind the music. Specifically, to the story behind the song “Albertine.”

On its surface, “Albertine” is a song about a tall and beautiful girl who survived the Rwandan genocide. That’s what the liner notes say, so it must be true, right? But when you dig down and really think about the words that Brooke Fraser sings, and the experiences she describes that inspired those words, you realize this song is about much more than a tall and beautiful girl who survived one of the most horrible crimes that has happened in our lifetimes.

“Albertine” is a song about choices. It’s a song about opening your eyes and possessing the courage to truly see your surroundings, even if — especially if — your surroundings are scary.

“Albertine” is a song about faith, and how once you have faith, it’s impossible to believe that faith without deeds is sufficient.

Bob Vinyl was originally going to write this review. I think he would’ve written something really good, but I stole the CD from him and told him I wanted to write this one. I wanted to write about Albertine because Bob (and Brooke) is a Christian and I’m not. I wanted to write it because I don’t have faith in the same things that give Brooke (and Bob) faith. I have faith, it’s just different than theirs.

I wanted to write this review because, when Brooke wrote “Faith without deeds is dead,” she wrote one of the most truthful and powerful statements about faith that I’ve ever read. And that’s why I don’t care that I don’t like the music on this CD. Music only lasts for a few minutes, but faith is something that you carry with you your entire life. And the idea that faith without deeds is dead… well, that’s an idea that I’m going to carry with me for a long time.

On its surface, “Albertine” is a song about a tall and beautiful girl who survived the Rwandan genocide. Really, though, it’s a song about a whole lot more. Really, it’s a song about faith, it’s a song about hope, it’s a song about love… and it’s a song about deeds.

(If you want to learn a little bit more about the stories behind “Albertine,” start by renting Hotel Rwanda and Sometimes In April. After you’ve sat through those, try reading Machete Season: The Killers in Rwanda Speak or Deogratias, A Tale of Rwanda. I’d be curious to hear your thoughts on faith and/or deeds afterwards.)

Ratings
Satriani: 5/10
Zappa: 5/10
Dylan: 8/10
Aretha: 9/10
Overall: 8/10 (Again, this is my reaction to the album, not a review of the album.)

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written by taotechuck
If you’re curious about my rating categories, read the description.

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