All We Need is singer/songwriter Rachael Lampa's fourth new studio album, and comes more than seven years after her third, a break that may say as much about the music business, in which the importance of albums has diminished, as it does about the artist, who in the interim has tried acting, posted songs on her website, and even put out a Christmas EP. Mainly, though, she's grown up, having aged from 19 to 26, so that All We Need constitutes her first mature musical effort. In the past, she was categorized as a talented teen who seemed to aspire to be the CCM version of Mariah Carey or Beyoncé, and actually that hasn't changed much. Or, to put it another way, being a Christian hip-hop diva is among her musical goals on this record. This is one of those collections on which a group of writer/producers (including Marshall Altman, David Garcia, Dan Muckala, Jason Pennock, Drew Ramsey, and Shannon Sanders) has been invited in to create music for the artist (who also gets some co-writing credits), resulting in a varied, if unfocused whole with some interesting parts. It also means that Lampa's musical identity gets blurred. Sometimes she's making like a Motown soulster, as on "No Escape," which borrows a much-used bassline and is heavily indebted to Stevie Wonder's "Part-Time Lover." Sometimes she's shooting for an atmospheric rock sound, as in "Uncharted Territory," with a track recalling U2's "With or Without You." Sometimes, as in "Run to You," she's aiming at the dancefloor. Throughout, she sounds strained and sometimes even whiny, and certainly often uncomfortable in her surroundings. It's too bad that after such a long break she should come back in such an indecisive manner. But talent can present a lot of choices, and it can be hard to pick a direction and take it.
AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann