Pretty and the Plain Review * Songs * Heller's Lyrics


Below, are the detailed evaluations of these songs

Songs of Testimony; Being thankful and filed with gratitude for what Jesus does for us and who He is in our lives.

* * * * + + + Title Song: The Pretty and the Plain - Favorite song of this reviewer - Lyrical message expresses the joy and elation felt by a person changed through her acceptance and faith in Jesus. Many people, like Mary Magdalene find Jesus in the depth of their sorrow and pain.

Related Scriptures:(John 20:10-17, Heb. 6:19-20 & 9:15, Romans 8:23)
Music notes: Rousing, joyous, energy-filled, driven acoustic Christian folk ballad at its best, in the form of a delightful testimonial/ praise and thanksgiving song which comes from the heart, so wonderfully expressed by JJ Heller, and back up vocals. Melody is memorable, propelled along with a folk-style acoustic ensemble which includes a pumping bass, well-done drums, expressing joy and excitement which is sure to lift anyone out of a dour mood into a state of thanksgiving!  Piano adds great spirit-building support in the chorus. Also enjoyed the harmonies heard in the chorus and bridge.

Highlight for me was the  inspiring bridge section, which is sung with just sythns key chords with strings for support first time through. Spirit-filled vocals makes singing along with JJ and friends irresistible, bringing to mind of how much Jesus has changed the listener;  chokes up this reviewer every time.

You found me / in the garden /I was crying /over your grave/ It sounded / like music/ when you/ spoke/ my name

CHORUS:I know you came / for the pretty and the plain/ I hear you calling out my name//
I know you came /for the sinner and the saint/ And I will never be the same//

The first time/ that you saw me /I was wrestling demons on my own/ You gave me (YOU GAVE ME)my freedom (my freedom) / And I will never be, never be alone// CHORUS
Bridge: Hallelujah, I will never be the same/ Hallelujah, amen /Hallelujah, I will never be the same/ I will never be the same/ And I will never be the same//

* * * *+ + YOU TOLD ME SO - An anthem which rejoices in some of the important promises made by the Lord to us.

Musical Notes: Spirit-lifting aura of the song begins at once with a light-hearted acoustic guitar introduction, catching the hopeful, spirit which flows throughout the song. 2nd verse, a banjo joins the acoustic guitar and light shaker rhythm instrument. Vocals and accompaniment build into the chorus, where the sound blooms. Chorus has a strong, dynamic vocal duet.  Vocals again do a great job in carrying the melody and expressing the lyrical message.
Scripture Ref.(Ephesians 3:16-18, John 10:27-30, 1 John 4:19, 1 Peter 5:7, Hebrews 13:5-6)

How high, how deep is your love for me / And you will never let me go /Light or darkness, doesn’t matter
Because you will never let me go.//

Chorus: And I will never cry alone / And You will always be my home / And You tell me so.//

You love everyone that I love / More than I ever could / Though my days are filled with trouble
Lord I know you’re good.// CHORUS

Little ones to you belong /  When I am weak, you are strong…

* * * * + + WHERE I LAND - A love letter to Jesus. No matter the storm we are experiencing, we can depend on the Lord to be there with us, as a friend, comforter and encourager who strengthens us as we become closer to him. 

Musical Notes: A quiet, peaceful, acoustic driven prayer hymn, which moves along on the power of broken chord rhythm of acoustic guitar, which also supports the lovely, peaceful melody and the expressive vocals of JJ Heller, Just a touch of keys here and there.

Scriptural References:(Hebrews 13:5-6, Ps. 46:1, )


You’re different from the way I thought you’d be/ But here you are in front of me
So full of light I watch it overflow/ A lovely mystery.//

Chorus 1:And I am lost for words/ You’re more than I deserve

You have a way of stirring up my soul/Did you know/ When you hold me in your arms the way you do/It feels like coming home.//

Chorus 2 And I am lost for words/You’re more than I deserve/And when I cannot stand
You are where I land//

And when the years have stolen youth away/ I will stay /You will be the keeper of my heart /Until my final day// Chorus 2


Evolving in our awareness of the Lord - Songs about changing emotionally, growing in faith and seeking the Lord.

 * * * * + + GROW - Evolving as a human being - Expressing feelings and even crying is a needed release in human beings which allows us to grow emotionally and spiritually as we share with the Lord our thoughts and emotions.

Music notes: Peppy, light-on-its-feet anthem, driven by acoustic guitars and piano, and a touch of percussion, which begins simply and builds in sound through to the chorus. Beat is immediately established with a guitar playing staccato strums on each beat, in the verses with an accented chord or phrase at the end of each phrase,  providing support and energy to the lively dotted note melody, carried so well by the vocals. Bridge offers a well done contrast, being a bit more musically broader.

Well done vocals and backup harmony part also capture the spirit of the song and lyrical message.

Scriptural References:(Gal 6:2, 1 Peter 5:7, Romans 14:19 & 15:2, Matt. 11:30)

Why did the rain go away? / Was it something I said? / Counting the minutes of the day / 'til the sun goes to bed.
Chorus: Stubborn cloud, I watch you rolling past/ What would it take for you to cry at last?/ Don't be afraid to let your feelings show  / If we dry up then we don't grow. /GROW/ grow. grow / Oh ohoh
Should I tell you a story to make you sad / I've seen my share of pain /You've stolen the joy that I had
Every last drop down the drain //

Bridge:Isn't the load that you carry, heavy? Isn't it time to let it down / already?
* * * * + + FLY AWAY - Yearning to grow closer in the Lord, being free from anything which stands in the way of our relationship with Him: (Sin, emotional baggage, weaknesses, discouraging cicmstances)

Related Scriptures:(Luke 11:9, Romans 6:18 & 8:2, 2nd Cor. 3:17, Gal. 5:1)
Music notes: Another spirited acoustic propelled anthem, with a clapping sound  and other percussion noise accenting the beat. Electric bass adds added support to the melody and beat. Lovely duet in the second verse, and strong back up vocal support in the chorus as well. Love the upbeat yearning spirit, which comes  through so well in the vocal presentations, and lively accompaniment.
Stars / call me closer / The earth is dragging me down / I want to be / more than hungry / I want to live somewhere other than this old gray town //

Chorus: I want to fly away / far beyond my cage / Where I hear freedom singing /You are telling me again / there’s no door to keep me in / I hear freedom singing//

Beauty / all around me / Drawing me to the sky / This is life I can feel it / Bid my lonely days goodbye// CHORUS
Bridge: Fly away home/Fly away home/Fly away home to YOU// CHORUS

Explore who Jesus is to us; his character, his love and his purpose for us in Learning to serve Him.
* * * * + + SMALL -Trying to put the Lord in a small box of convenience, like wearing a necklace - Keeping faith in the comfort zone- Encourages us to not do so, but let Him lead us into what we feel is beyond us. Points out how we cannot fathom with our minds his entire being.

Musical Notes:An acoustic-key based prayer hymn with heart, which begins with a brief synths key intro, that fades into a capella vocals and light percussion, with touches of key chords. Chorus accompaniment consists of chordal key support.and light keys, and quiets down again in the 2nd verse;  mostly vocals and quiet keys, bass. 2nd time through chorus, acoustic guitar, bass and keys work well together to provide support for the main stars of this song; the vocals, melody and the lyrical message.

Scriptural References:(Rev. 1:8, Luke 10;27, Hebrews 12:1-2, Phil 3:12, John 15:16)

Cardboard cutouts on the floor /People wish that you were more like what they wanted you to be/
Eventually they won’t have much of you at all / in their /theology /The walls are closing in on you/
You cannot be contained at all.//

Chorus: I don’t want to make you small/ I don’t want to fit you in my pocket/ A cross around my throat/
Cause You/ are brighter than the sun /You’re closer than the tiny thoughts I have of you/
But I could never fathom you at all //
oh, oh, oh,,oh oh, oh//
Broken moldings all around / Broken people hit the ground / When they discover that / you’re not here for our benefit/ You love / in spite of us/You use / the least of us /to prove the strong aren’t really strong at all// CHORUS:

oh, oh, oh,,oh oh, oh/ oh, oh, oh,,oh oh, oh// Chorus
* * * * + + LITTLE THINGS - Little things we do for others show love and make a difference in our world.

Scriptural References:( John 6:9-12 & 15:12, 17, 1 John 4:19)
Musical notes: Driving acoustic anthem with a vivacious spirit which is infectious in both the driving composition and the dynamic, spirited vocals, beautifully paired with a memorable, catchy melody which stays with the listener. Ensemble of bass, acoustic, keys, and an interesting rhythm gadget of unknown source.  Love the well done bridge, which is the dynamic pinnacle of the song.
There are not enough minutes in the day / I am crippled by the thought of wasting time
I don’t have enough money to heal the poor / So I don’t want to try

Chorus: But it’s the little things that make a difference/ It’s the little things that show love/
It’s the little things / A simple cup of water that can change the world / That can save our sons and daughters.//

I’ll be praying for the widow all alone /Sewing clothes for a loaf of bread/It is not my fault that she is hungry/It’s my joy to make sure she’s fed.// CHORUS

Bridge: We are all related, children of the King/ We may not have much, but what we have we bring.//

Theme: Through the highs and lows of being a human being in this world, the Lord cares about our situation.
Relationships: JJ Heller and team capture the emotional highs and lows experienced in marriage.
* * * * + + TONIGHT - Emotional High: Beginning of a marriage - Head over heels in love on wedding day, a young bride expresses the joyous love felt FOR her beloved, as they dance at their wedding reception.
Scriptural References:(Song of Songs:4:1 & 5:10-16 & 7:10)
Musical Notes: Poignant, dynamic composition and vocals express a dream-like quality that exists with newly-weds; euphoric love, which washes over the listener in this 3/4 meter waltz, the tempo of this romantic, delicate, flowing acoustic/ string combo composition. Bells add a dreamy quality to the accompaniment, as does the cello and strings! Great combination of dynamic melody and poignant vocals of a woman in love. Vocal presentation by JJ Heller wonderfully tell the story of the head over heels in love feelings of this couple as they start their life together.

Lryical sample: Love, you are lovely /You have put the stars to shame/
I have lost my senses, and you’re the one to blame/ Bluer than the sky above, closer than my skin /  Tonight our life begins//

You are mine beloved /And I am yours to keep/Take my heart forever/You have captured me/
God is singing over us, we hear it in the wind/Tonight our life begins / Tonight our life begins.//
* * * * + + WHY IS IT COLDER? - Emotional Low - Expresses a difficult time in a marriage. For some unknown reason, their love relationship is in trouble as one spouse has retreated into his own world of needs and wants, forgetting/ignoring his beloved's emotional needs.
Musical Notes: Composition captures the discord in the marriage immediately in the first few measures, with a slightly disonant note interval, played in rhythm by a guitar, which establishes both the tempo and mood of this song. Light shaker establishes the beginning rhythm. Song begins simply in first verse, builds in 2nd verse with electric guitars joining the acoustic, and builds in emotion and intensity, in full bloom 2nd time through the chorus, propelled by light drums. Nice harmonies in the chorus.
Another fantastic bridge, with a driving acoustic/electric ensemble, building vocals, from a duet to a threesome harmony, stating a hopeful truth about the eternal love from above, and the Lord's ability to heal us from heartbreak and brokenness.. Ends on a quiet note.

Scriptural References:(1 Cor. 13 & Ephes. 5:25-31, 5:22-24, 1 John 4:19)

What am I to do with you / Have I done enough /I’ve got nothing left to give/
If this is how you want to live, I guess I’ll wait/ outside.//

CHORUS: Why is it colder when you’re here/And why do I cry so many tears / When all I want is your love.//

And if you ever want to know about the things I love / All you have to do is ask /You’ve never done that in the past, but maybe one day.// CHORUS

BRIDGE: And love is a river it flows down / to the people /Then goes up / to the clouds to rain again.//
And love / is a danger it can make you let your guard down/ But if you are never broken you will never be made whole.// Chorus.

What am I to do with you / Have I done enough /I’ve got nothing left to give/
If this is how you want to live, I guess I’ll wait/ outside.//

Songs of petition, asking the Lord to help in difficulties, while expressing faith in the Lord's promises.
* * * * ++  HAVE MERCY ON ME - Asking Jesus for relief of intense emotional pain, fear and panic.

Musical Notes: Lovely build up of sound. Begins with a single acoustic guitar. Piano and cello join to make a poignant ensemble, setting the perfect mood and melody support, for the strong memorable lead vocals. Lovely dynamic transitional interlude ends the song, featuring  a piano, bass, acoustic, violin and cello, and segues into a reprise of the chorus of  WHEN YOU COME BACK FOR ME

Scriptural References:(Phil. 4:6-8, 13, Matt. 11:28-30, 1 Peter 5:7)

JJ Heller comments in her album thank you's... "Andrew Osenga, for challenging me to write honestly about my experience with anxiety."

I’m tired of being afraid / I’m wondering how I got this way /I’m trying to remember what life was like before/ Panic moved in without even knocking on the door

Refrain:Have mercy on me / I’m not who I used to be / Have mercy on me / Jesus, please//

I’ve been praying and asking you to take it all away/You never do exactly what I say/
You see me from the outside, a lover looking in/ But all I see is danger moving underneath my skin


Bridge:I know it’s not because I don’t love you enough/It’s not because I’m weak, it’s how you choose to speak to me
WHEN YOU COME BACK TO ME - Prayer hymn - Petitioning the Lord for healing of hurts, brokenness, and guidance; giving us wisdom and discernment. Song holds onto His promise that our wordly troubles aren't going to last forever, but will end when He will comes back and gets us at the end of our lives.

Scriptural References:(John 14:1-2, Rev. 21:4, 6)

Musical Notes: Lovely prayer hymn with a poignant accompaniment supports poignant vocals and lyrical message.

I don’t know how to follow you without losing my way / Jesus come and take me by the hand /
I don’t know how to trust that you will do the things you say/ Spirit teach me how to understand

REFRAIN: That your love can heal the wreckage of my soul /The beauty of your light shining in me

I don’t know / when you’ll take me home to paradise with you /The day when I will finally be free//
Oh the day when you come back for me //

Reviewed by Julie Carr -


Pretty and the Plain Review * Songs * Heller's Lyrics * * *

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