The classic children's tale, Charlotte's Web, has found new life 55 years after E.B. White first penned it, thanks to a movie boasting an all-star cast of voices and the star power of Dakota Fanning. In addition to spawning a soundtrack, it also has spun off into Charlotte's Web: Music Inspired by the Motion Picture.
While the original motion picture soundtrack features music by Danny Elfman and Sarah McLachlan tunes, this disc is filled with inspirational and uplifting songs that are compatible with the movie's theme. With a high-profile roster of Christian recording artists, Charlotte's Web ties together the movie's themes of love, friendship and sacrifice in a well-packaged lineup. Combining established artists like Amy Grant, Billy Ray Cyrus and Point of Grace with some much newer acts, the disc provides an excellent accompaniment to the movie, but also stands on its own as a superior album that the entire family can enjoy.
Award-winning Christian artist Hawk Nelson kicks things off with "Everything You Ever Wanted," a song that looks at the struggle of trying to live up to someone else's expectations. The track has a pleasant pop feeling that sets an upbeat tone for what's to come, and it is followed by the slightly more rocking "Now That You've Come Into My Life" by Mark Schultz.
The beautiful, country-gospel flavored "I Wonder" by Billy Ray Cyrus captures the sense of love and longing for someone who is out of sight but never out of mind. Amy Grant then expands upon that idea with "I Will Be Your Friend," a compelling song of hope and encouragement. No matter what befalls them, she promises, she will always be there for them. It becomes a powerful song of friendship that embodies the true meaning of love; they have created a bond that nothing can ever break.
Sixpence None the Richer's Leigh Nash weighs in with "Beautiful World," a song that could be interpreted many ways. This could be a song of love, friendship or salvation; however it is applied, it speaks to the fact that once this love has been discovered, it provides a guiding light that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. Like many of the songs on this compilation, it speaks to the power of love, dreams and believing in both of those things with all your heart.
Midway through the album, BarlowGirl delivers the stunning acoustic track, "Never Alone." The reverent, stirring track captures the feeling of knowing that you're always in the thoughts and heart of another, even when they aren't near. The harmonies on this song are gorgeous and while it's a definite departure from their typically rocking style, it is a pleasant surprise.
Although the songs on Charlotte's Web are inspirational and uplifting, the spirituality of each track is more implied than overt. Point of Grace's "Circle of Friends," Ginny Owens' bluesy "Long Way Home" and Natalie Grant's "Home" are filled with spiritual references that are mostly conveyed through phrasing that is open to individual interpretation.
Selah ties those implied messages together and presents a bold statement of faith with a powerful rendition of "There Is A Fountain." Their memorable delivery of this popular hymn is an amazing display of their vocal prowess as well as a solid reminder of this album's underlying message of faith, hope and love.
By Paula Felps