True Beauty

True Beauty

4.7 9
by Mandisa

Gospel music is a rare thing to see on American Idol, and even rarer post-Idol. Mandisa, the ninth-place finisher on season five, opted to stick to what she does best: praising her Lord through her voice. Dedication can be heard in every note of True Beauty, and she never loses her poise or chops throughout the record,…  See more details below


Gospel music is a rare thing to see on American Idol, and even rarer post-Idol. Mandisa, the ninth-place finisher on season five, opted to stick to what she does best: praising her Lord through her voice. Dedication can be heard in every note of True Beauty, and she never loses her poise or chops throughout the record, something that many of her Idol peers tend to do after the show. What's an even bigger feat of True Beauty is that it's catchy, entertaining, and passionate at the same time. Album openers "Only the World" and "True Beauty" could slide into any radio station across the country. Even better, they actually produce a positive message for those who listen. Instead of singing about money in the bank, Mandisa chooses to promote a healthy body image by diving into the beauty of the soul, where it truly counts. Afterwards, she glides into "God Speaking" and "Voice of a Savior," which will melt any heart. She minimizes the backup vocalists and heavy production, letting herself shine through and distinguishing herself from most of her Idol contemporaries. Perhaps the strongest track on the album is the fifth one, "Love Somebody," which features the talented gospel rapper tobyMac. Mandisa and tobyMac combine gospel, soul, and rap seamlessly in four minutes of pure heaven, no pun intended. The most poignant point on the album follows right after, when Mandisa belts out "Unrestrained." Mandisa expresses her love for her God with such a level of earnestness that it leaves the listener breathless. After listening to the first half of the album, it is easy to be convinced that this is the best post-Idol album to date, regardless of genre. However, if you want to keep that belief, stop listening there. The first six tracks on the albums are all stellar, but the second half slowly falls apart. Tracks like "Oh, My Lord," "Only You," and the tepid and contrived Mary Mary cover of "Shackles (Want to Praise You)" seem tedious and bland. In other words, the second half of the album merely comes off as a B-level version of the first. The other weakness on the album is the songwriting. Mandisa only co-wrote three tracks on the album: "True Beauty," "Love Somebody," and "Only You." For an artist whose entire album -- no, rather genre -- is essentially a dedication, the amount of original material from her seems low. In the end, however, whatever Mandisa lacked was picked up by others, and although she didn't actually write much here, she made up for it in her chops. When compared to some of the other finished products of her season (Taylor Hicks, Princess P), Mandisa's first effort was pretty awesome, and she distinguished herself from her former rivals by bringing an original and tasty dish to the table.

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Mandisa   Primary Artist
Cindy Morgan   Background Vocals
John Catchings   Cello
David Davidson   Strings
Scott Dente   Acoustic Guitar
Blair Masters   Piano,Keyboards
Jerry McPherson   Electric Guitar
Lynn Nichols   Guitar
Mike Payne   Electric Guitar
Dan Needham   Drums
Peter Penrose   Background Vocals
Akil Thompson   Bass,Guitar
Ben Phillips   Drums
Jason Eskridge   Background Vocals
Jamie Moore   Bass
Nirva Dorsaint   Background Vocals
Prague Orchestra & Symphony   Strings
Tony Lucido   Bass
Michelle Swift   Background Vocals
Lamar Carter   Drums
Jamie Kenney   Keyboards
Kimberly Mont   Background Vocals
Debbie Selby   Background Vocals
Christopher Stevens   Bass,Guitar,Drums,Keyboards
Shonlock   Background Vocals
Cary Barlowe   Guitar
Drew Cline   Background Vocals
Greg Hagan   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar
Shane Philen   Saxophone
Debreca Smith   Background Vocals
Tim Rosenau   Guitar
Calvin Nowell   Background Vocals
Drew Ramsey   Background Vocals
Sam Mizell   Background Vocals
Missi Hale   Background Vocals
Diverse City   Guest Appearance
Tommy Vaughan   Trumpet,Flugelhorn
Gabe Patillo   Background Vocals
Matt Pierson   Bass

Technical Credits

Brown Bannister   Producer,Engineer
Cindy Morgan   Composer
Joe Baldridge   Engineer
Steve Bishir   Engineer
Brian Gardner   Mastering
Carl Marsh   String Arrangements
Toby McKeehan   Composer
Chance Scoggins   Vocal Arrangements,Vocal Producer
Bill Whittington   Engineer,Digital Editing
Jason Lehning   Engineer
Tony Sutherland   Composer
Aaron Rice   Composer
Warryn Campbell   Composer
Russ "Russwell" Long   Engineer
Ben Phillips   Engineer
Jamie Moore   Composer,Programming,Producer,Engineer
Justin York   Composer
Ronnie Freeman   Composer
Lee Bridges   Digital Editing
Josiah "Chuks" Bell   Programming,Engineer
Jamie Kenney   Programming
Robert "Aurel M" Marvin   Programming,Engineer
Tim Frank   Art Direction
Christopher Stevens   Programming,Producer,Horn Arrangements
Cary Barlowe   Composer
Matthew West   Composer
Shane Philen   Horn Arrangements
Greg Fuqua   Engineer
Mandisa   Composer
Erik Jahner   Engineer
Calvin Nowell   Composer
Drew Ramsey   Composer
Sam Mizell   Composer,Programming,Engineer,drum programming
Joseph Prielozny   Engineer
Craig Swift   Engineer
Tommy Vaughan   Horn Arrangements
Shaun Shankel   Composer,Programming,Producer,Engineer,Digital Editing,Vocal Producer

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True Beauty 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
SHEI More than 1 year ago
Although it didn't contain "My Deliverer," this CD is really rockin'. "Some People" is on it as well as the signature, "True Beauty," and "God Speaking" in creative Mandisa style. It even contains a song collaboration between Toby Mac and Mandisa. Like it's name, it is beautiful.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
mandisa is the best singer in gospel music she has a beautiful and soulful powerful voice truly a gift from god. I love the songs. never going to steal my soul. only the world. shackles praise you. the whole cd is outstanding. it git you danceing and life you up in spirit and bless your soul. this is a must for anyone who loves music thats great.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Mandisa graduates from American Idol and matures into a solid singer on her debut album. The positive energy from her songs is refreshing compared to her secular counterparts. 4 out of 5 stars.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is my favorite CD of all times... no kidding. I love every track on it and have bought several as gifts. I view this CD as a ministry tool. It includes a great variety of songs. If I had to choose a favorite, I could not.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this new CD. Mandisa is awesome.
BamsGrandma More than 1 year ago
Mandisa sings many styles on this CD! It has a wide variety.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago