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Written by: Laura Chambers (5/26/2016)

Recently, I’ve come to the conclusion that I can’t please everyone. It’s actually freeing, knowing that I don’t have to be the wishbone in the middle being pulled on by everyone who wants me to be a certain way. That’s not to say that trying to include something for everybody in a project is a bad thing; it’s only an issue when your motivation is people pleasing and causes you to compromise your message. Thankfully, that is not the case with MARi, aka Mari Burelle. Peppered with Spanish lines and phrases, (necessitating this reviewer’s use of Google Translate!), Treasure defies all who would try to define her style, opting instead for a variety of musical genres as vibrant and exciting as the life we can all experience in Christ.

“Alive” is an expression of joy after being miraculously brought back to life spiritually. At the end of a long difficult struggle, MARi celebrates God’s deliverance with simple but no less meaningful lyrics.  “Everybody’s Dancing” provides the perfect accompaniment for just such a moment. Absent from this song (blessedly) is any hint of PG material. Instead, it encourages us to dance and gives her reasons for being able to, namely her trust in God. It was hard not to get up and dance while writing this review! “Shine Brighter” kicks the tempo up a notch, encouraging us to be strong during our journey through the world, bringing light wherever we go.  We don’t have to fear because our moment has come. “Treasure” is a testimony to God’s work in the lives of broken people. The things we have lost can be given back to us and our lives can be redeemed for His glory. Despite having, in effect, only one verse which is repeated twice, this love song to God praises Him for the restorations He has made. It’s also my favorite track on this album.

“Made To Love” reminds us that we were created to love each other. It can be difficult to extend forgiveness and grace when somebody wrongs us, but it’s the only answer worth giving. United by this, our abilities become limitless. “Oh You Love Me” takes on a tropical beach vibe, basking in Jesus’ love and seeking solitude with Him. She imagines her and Jesus exchanging praise and grace. “Estoy Bien”, which in English means “I’m Fine”, unexpectedly speeds up. Though Google doesn’t translate it perfectly, it basically asserts that because God changes our lives, it’s all we need to declare that we are all right. “You Gotta Stand” encourages us to get up when we fall because God has given us another chance. Rather than living in the past, we are to walk into the future knowing He holds us.

“I Believe In Jesus” affirms this belief over and over, even though we cannot always see what is happening.  Our circumstances should not change what we believe to be true. “It’s A Beautiful Day” resists falling into despair despite the rainy weather we encounter. If we run for the prize awaiting us, focusing on nothing but Jesus, we can see the beauty in the dreariest of days. “If My People Pray” reminds us of the promise found in 2nd Chronicles 7:14, in a moment of repentance of going our own ways. The song switches POVs from the seeker to God Himself, reminding us that He knew us from the beginning. “Que Todo Mundo Sepa” declares that God’s love is unlike any other. MARi wants to let all know that He is her Lord and she has always loved Him. “Hear My Roar”, the last track, describes Christians as the “voice in the wilderness”, the only ones who can show God’s love in every venue we find ourselves.

Lyrically, Treasure isn’t the most diverse album I’ve ever reviewed. Musically, it’s a whole different story. Ranging from pop to beach to hip hop, every song on this album delivers a positive message of love and rescue that can be found in the Lord. When you open the Treasure chest, some may reach for the gold doubloons, while others will prefer a ruby ring or a string of pearls.  But I can guarantee you that you’ll like at least one song from this album.