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LOVE, PEACE AND HAPPINESS (2004)
Love, Peace and Happiness - Click to view!Long before Destiny's Child or Stacie Orrico, there was Out of Eden. At a sweeping glance you would never guess the beautiful Kimmey sisters — Andrea, Danielle and Lisa — are music veterans. However, in February of 2004 the Goatee Records trio celebrated ten years as Christian music's premier pop divas with their fifth album, Love, Peace and Happiness.

Although a milestone in their career and a solid R&B album by most standards, Love, Peace and Happiness leaves something to be desired. While it proves their growth as artists, they fall into a familiar trap. Obvious radio hits and a few good songs are sandwiched among dull tracks that drag the album down. I enjoyed the first preview but found myself bored with it shortly after. It takes a lot of innovation to make a listener not skip to their two or three favorite songs; Out of Eden, while a quality group, may not be there yet.

To their credit, Love, Peace and Happiness reflects the good things that made Out of Eden the longstanding R&B power group they are today. Individually, their vocals are still strong, and together they form an impressive singular sound. The title track showcases that legendary smooth harmony and their love for dance beats. Also, as with former hits such as "More Than You Know" and "Different Now," Out of Eden stands apart as Christian artists who aren't afraid to put a little bass in their music. Their pop/hip-hop anthem, "Soldiers," is enough to make your speakers shake. "Make Way" follows suit with an unapologetic "we-have-arrived" type of introduction. Confident in their style, they sing: "We represent for G-O-D / Real life full of positivity / Living right 'cause that's the way / Fully clothed and that's okay."

In the midst of bass thumping beats, Love, Peace and Happiness is full of social consciousness. Out of Eden uses their platform to address issues that plague youth. "I Know" is an impassioned plea for a better life from an older sister's perspective. They sing: "(I know) That you want to be in these streets / Think you gotta hustle to eat / Money doesn't matter to me / I just want you home." Over soft harp-like notes, the sisters encourage young men and women to abandon the wrong path for God's grace.

Many of the tracks blend into obscurity and are neither regrettable nor remarkable. Songs like "Could've Been Me" and "It's You" go well with the entire album but sink on their own merit. Others are salvaged by relatable lyrics. In "Drama Free," the girls beg to be free of gossipy friends who thrive on stress. "It's not that I don't care about it / It's just that I have to do without it," they sing. "Secret" stretches their story-telling abilities with a moral of being a good witness for Christ.

Faithful fans of Out of Eden should be satisfied with Love, Peace and Happiness, mostly because it is dangerously similar to their other albums. Such stability makes for a safe, consistent sound but lacks novelty. It's also not enough to keep the listener engaged for 11 tracks. Substantial lyrics and pop hooks aside, Out of Eden's anniversary album adds nothing fresh to their ten-year legacy.
- Jennifer Jones
August 2004
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