It feels surprising that Joy Mover's self-titled debut album took so long to produce. Coming from a family of musicians, Mover has music flowing through her blood. The album Joy Mover feels like two different EPs, one full of her original music and the other including five cover songs, with the song "Home Sweet Home" standing by itself in a confused manner. While the arrangements for all the tracks hold the album together, it lacks a strong cohesion outside of that.
The album begins with "Have You Ever Loved?," which is an interesting opening. Mover is willing to put jazz and a Latin feel together in this salsa-inspired piece. She immediately shifts into "Maria's Song," which has a Manheim Steamroller undertone. The filtering of Mover's voice in "Maria's Song" works well and wasn't distracting. She composes her lyrics and melodies to fit her voice perfectly. Going from deep husky tones to airy lilts in "If I Could Tell You" is one great example.
The album felt like a team effort instead of a showcase for Mover. For instance, take the song "Midnight Oil." Lyrically the song is strong, but the guitar, piano, and trumpet get moments to shine stronger than Mover. The guitar solo in "If I Could Tell You " is wonderful.
The song "Only the Wind" takes a different turn. While it still has jazz undertones, it has a Caribbean/beach arrangement. The shift is a bit jarring. Going from salsa to bossa nova is nice, but I would have considered adjusting the order to make "Only the Wind" fit better. If the song was placed earlier in the album it would be great. The song's position between "Midnight Oil" and "Nature Boy" was quite confusing.
I question the audio quality level of "Home Sweet Home." It sounds like Mover's vocals were run through a very odd echoing filter and I was distracted by how electronic Mover sounded. The almost auto-tuned sound didn't fit the other instruments in the song and it made the lyrics seem immature. Upon further inspection, the production notes state that it was restored from MP3. I'd appreciate the song better if they completely reproduced the song to a higher audio standard.