Disclaimer: All views presented in this Album Review are those of the reviewer and not of DJ Wade-O
If there was one way to describe what life for Xist Music songstress Adia has been, it would be summed up in one word: Overcomer. This album, Behind Enemy Lines, is her debut to the world through Xist Music, and from the songs to the title, she wanted to express the truth of how this Christian lifestyle is a spiritual war from start to finish. Revelation 12:11 says “They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony…” I can imagine that this verse was the driving force behind Adia as she wrote this album, because this project was full of personal testimonies of life battles, struggles, and stories of how she has overcome those situations, to be the woman of God that she is right now. All of this got bundled into one complete idea with this album. So let’s unpack it to see how Behind Enemy Lines comes across to the listener.
When one hears the phrase “Behind Enemy Lines,” you automatically think of being in hostile territory. This is true in the physical context of being a soldier on enemy territory, but for Adia, she is referring to how we’re “in this world but not of it” as Christians. We’re consistently existing in a world that is not our home and we are fighting to not give in, not give up, and to fight with all the strength of our creator. The album dives right into this concept in the beginning of the album with a distress call from Adia to God, from what sounds like an intense battlefield. You can hear gun shots, explosions and the like, so you’re drawn into the war atmosphere right away. This is supported by the title track “Behind Enemy Lines,” a song about holding onto the Lord as your source of strength through all ups and downs of life. The song has the percussion of an army marching into battle, which flowed very well from the atmosphere that the skit created. As a concept, it created a nice flow for the album. Adia used the creative space to create songs about all types of battles from multiple aspects, which is something that any Christian can connect with. You have “Giants,” the rally cry to those who are faithful to the Lord, which is all about holding onto God’s promise of being more than conquerors in Christ. She has a song called “Take It Back” that is about our ego and the daily battle with pride and greed. There are even songs directed towards the battles that non-believers face, like the song “Heat,” featuring her label mate Gemstones.
While the concept was heavily rooted in direction of fighting/battles of war, what made up most of the songs were moments of transparency into Adia’s past. We do hear about general battles we face as Christians, but much of the wars that we hear about are Adia’s own battles growing into the woman that she is today. “Torn identity” is all about the inner thoughts of Adia, as she begins to become more and more transparent of her own struggles in the past. She talks about how she even has to fight with herself, torn between what she believes, her spirit fighting with her flesh to be more like Christ and her heart and mind at odds with what she wants.
Arguably one of the deepest songs on the album is “Rags To Riches,” which deals with Adia’s past of being abused, making some choices shes not the most proud of, and the road she took to make it to the place she is in now. Through all of her struggles, she learned of the truth of God’s love, expressed beautifully in the song “Unconditional.” Redemption is followed up with the realization of how her life was kept in God’s hands with the song “Favor Ain’t Fair.” And in an attempt to direct the listeners on how to attain healing and freedom like she has received, she sings about her process in the head-nodding blues/rock tune “Give It To Him” featuring Eric Dawkins.
Musically, this album can be categorized as R&P, Rhythm and Praise, as Adia is a very soulful singer. Her range is nothing to shake a stick at, and she has power behind her notes. A lot of the songs have the slower groove that a singer needs to express the emotion necessary to get their point across. “Unconditional”, “Favor Ain’t Fair”, and “Never Too Close” are all beautifully written ballads, and Adia does a great job singing from the heart on them. There are a few upbeat songs like “Heat” with Gemstones and “In Yo Seat,” which reminds me of a fusion between “turn-up” and praise-break music. And “Take It Back” is a song that makes you want to dance right away as well. The flow doesn’t jolt the listener either. Each song stands alone as its own experience, tells its own story, and that creates the ability to go from different tempos or different styles, and have you feel like you still know what’s going on.
Behind Enemy Lines is a well written story that gives us a glimpse into what makes Adia who she is. Who she is now is because of what she’s been through, and much of her journey had her feeling like she was existing in enemy territory. But because she learned who God really is and how His love is transformative, she realized how all Christians are on this battlefield together. She created this album to strengthen the body with testimonies of how she made it through. This album isn’t just for women who need a positive role model, but it is for anyone who enjoys quality music, lyrics, and melodies. I didn’t know who Adia was before I heard her project, but this album definitely had me become a fan of what she does.