Christa Deánā’s “Shine” begins gently, like a CeCe Winans gospel track. Deánā is also a Christian singer, but her songs also incorporate a lot of modern production touches. What follows is an inspiring song, which also sounds contemporary and relevant.
“Shine” revs up with a call-and-response build, before incorporating a choir-like vocal chorus. These elements exemplify this track’s wide dynamics. Rather than start out one way, and just keep on the same path the whole way through, Deánā varies up the sound of this song throughout.
Lyrically, much of this song revolves around knowing the right thing to do, which is share one’s faith with a world that needs to hear the Christian message, and the actual doing of the thing.
At one point, Deánā repeats the line, “Lift Him higher.” The Bible talks about how, if Christ be lifted up, He’ll draw all men to himself. That Biblical truth appears to be the inspiration for this song line.
The arrangement is sparse, and primarily built upon keyboard and percussion. There isn’t a whole lot of other instrumentation in the mix. Perhaps this is because Deánā wants listeners to focus on her voice and what she has to say.
One of the stranger elements in this song is where the lyrics sometimes go. There are moments when you’re sure Deánā is singing directly to God. It’s prayerful and devotional in these sections. However, there are other places where Deánā sounds like she’s exhorting the church, instead. Yes, it’s a worthy pursuit to worship God, and to encourage the church. However, it can also be a little confusing to the listener, when one is wondering to whom she’s directing her words.
The song ends with a lyrical snippet from “This Little Light of Mine,” which adds a nice touch. It’s a song every former Sunday school student knows well. It also points out how everything we need to know we first learned in kindergarten. Being a light to the world is not something we should learn as adults. Rather, it’s something many of us learned as small children.
One wonders why the innocence and enthusiasm of children fades away once we reach adulthood. Deánā is not questioning how and why we change; she is, though, suggesting all Christians should know better. Christians should know that what they learned in Sunday school, doesn’t somehow disappear once adulthood sets in. The debate Deánā seems to be experience — whether she has the guts to be open about the Christian faith — gets real once there is opposition to that message. The Bible describes the Christian life in war-like terms, and it can be a battle to be vocal about what one believes.
As difficult as it is to tell others about Christianity, Deánā’s song makes it all seem so beautif8ul and natural. Ah, if all of us could just sing beautifully, like she does, the job would be so much easier.
On the sound of this recording alone, Deánā shines brightly. She has a great power in her voice, when she wants to apply it, and she applies it in great measure on this one. Let’s all be glad she’s decided to let her light shine.