Plugged In exists to shine a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving you and your family the essential tools you need to understand, navigate and impact the culture in which we live. Through reviews, articles and discussions, we want to spark intellectual thought, spiritual growth and a desire to follow the command of Colossians 2:8: "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."


Family uses Plugged In as a ‘significant compass’

"I am at a loss for words to adequately express how much it means to my husband and me to know that there is an organization like Focus that is rooting for us. Just today I was reading Psalm 37 and thinking about how your ministry provides ways to 'dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.' We have two teenagers and an 8-year-old in our household...Plugged In has become a significant compass for our family. All three of our kids are dedicated to their walk with Christ but they still encounter challenges. Thanks for all of your research and persistence in helping us navigate through stormy waters."

Plugged In helps college student stand-up for his belief

"Thanks for the great job you do in posting movie and television reviews online. I’m a college freshman and I recently had a confrontational disagreement with my English professor regarding an R-rated film. It is her favorite movie and she wanted to show it in class. I went to your Web site to research the film’s content. Although I had not seen the movie myself, I was able to make an educated argument against it based on the concerns you outlined. The prof said that she was impressed by my stand and decided to poll the whole class and give us a choice. We overwhelmingly voted to watch a G-rated movie instead! I’ve learned that I can trust your site and I will be using it a lot in the future.”

Plugged In brings ‘Sanity and Order’ to Non-believer

“Even though I don’t consider myself a Christian, I find your Plugged In Web site useful and thought-provoking. No one reviews movies like you do. Instead of being judgmental, you put entertainment ‘on trial.’ After presenting the evidence, you allow the jury of your readers to decide for themselves what they should do. In my opinion, you bring sanity and order to the wild world of modern day entertainment. Keep up the good work!”

Mom thinks Plugged In is the ‘BEST Christian media review site’

"Our family doesn't go to the movies until we go online and check out your assessment of a given film. I think this is the BEST Christian media review website that I've found, and I recommend it to my family and friends. Keep up the good work!"


Our hope is that whether you're a parent, youth leader or teen, the information and tools at Plugged In will help you and your family make appropriate media decisions. We are privileged to do the work we do, and are continually thankful for the generosity and support from you, our loyal readers, listeners and friends.

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Album Review

What happens when a curly-haired teen starts covering popular songs on YouTube, makes it to the Hollywood round on American Idol, then gets noticed by Justin Bieber's manager, Scooter Braun?

Do I even have to answer that question?

Tori Kelly is an ebullient 22 year old whose 2015 debut album (and its 2016 bonus-track laden re-release), Unbreakable Smile, is as earnest as its infectious title suggests. Her aww-shucks, girl-next-door appeal is evident from the very first lines of "Where I Belong (Intro)." She sings, "I'm just a girl with her guitar/Trying to give you my whole heart/ … All I have is a story and a dream/Here I am, and that's all I can be."

Listening to those lyrics, I couldn't help but think that Tori seemed to be taking a different tack toward mainstream success than so many of her peers. And another confession on the title track soon confirms that suspicion: "Who knows, maybe I can sell out shows without taking off my clothes."

So who is this cheerful and amply-clothed young woman?

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements


Pro-social Content

Tori Kelly wastes no time telling us that she's pretty grounded when it comes to knowing who she is and in dealing with fame's challenges. "Why do I let the pressure take over my mind?" she asks on "Where I Belong (Intro)." And she continues, "When I know the truth is never wrong/I'm alright, this is right where I belong." Meanwhile, "Funny (Live)" ponders what happens to people's identities when they become celebrities. "What is your definition of a true superstar?/Is it beauty? Is it money? Is it power? Is it fame?/Are you in it for the glory? What's the purpose? What's the game?" She then warns wisely, "Everything you ever wanted got you tied up in chains/Be careful how you play the game." Echoing Mark 8:36 and then Proverbs 16:18, she adds, "If you lose your soul, you lose it all/If you're at the top, then brace for the fall."

Similar themes are evident at the outset of the title track as Tori tells us she's more interested in making a difference than making money ("Somebody told me fame is a disease/You start singing the blues when you start seeing green/But I think it's all about what you choose/The way you live your life depends on you/That's when I realized I wanna make a difference/Change other people's lives, give hope, even for a moment"). She says she's likely to be spending time with her family and at church. And speaking of her spiritual convictions, she brags a bit about how God has made her … and how she refuses to sell herself to sell albums ("God made me sexy, I don't care if only I know"). And even though she playfully says that going to church "don't mean I can't cause trouble," she immediately contrasts that sassy bravado with the suggestion that it's not the kind of "trouble" likely to land her in the tabloids ("Stir up a little scene, 'cause isn't that what you want/For me to mess up, so you can dress up some story?/Saying, 'Tori, this'll sell more records'").

"Nobody Love" is honest about the reality of risk and conflict in a romantic relationship, but it ultimately affirms the goodness in a relationship even if it's not perfect. "Expensive" tells a beau that what matters to Tori isn't pricey bling, but rather just spending time with him. Still, she doesn't seem in a huge rush to plunge headlong into love. Romantic restraint shows up on several songs. On "I Was Made for Loving You," she tells a guy cautiously, "I've been waiting all my life/Please don't scar this young heart/Just take my hand." "First Heartbreak" ponders how to avoid mistakes that might unwittingly torpedo a first love. "Falling Slow" tells a guy that she's not going to just surrender mindlessly to strong emotions. "Talk" challenges a would-be boyfriend to do more than just offer pretty words about his commitment. And "Anyway" wonders if someone will stay with her if she's honest about her faults.

"Something Beautiful" encourages an emotionally distraught friend, "Your tears are not for nothing/ … You are stronger than you know/Oh, you're something beautiful." "Should've Been Us" and "Art of Letting Go" tenderly ponder what might have been without letting those romantic disappointments completely undo us.

Objectionable Content

A few mildly suggestive/rebellious moments pop up on "California Lovers" ("I remember sneaking out in your car/ … Was a sucker for them boys with a wild heart/ … You're never on my mind/Till I feel the heat of you and me, it hits me every summer/Remember when no one else could make me feel alive?/We were young and free, 17, just California lovers").

Guest contributions from Ed Sheeran and LL Cool J include these questionable lines: "Hold me close through the night/Don't let me go, we'll be alright" and "Lips kissing, seats christened/ … Your legs deserve they own day of the week, Th-Th-Thighday/ … You can have a sip of whatever you want, a bottle of.'"

Summary Advisory

There was a time in our culture when almost any young pop star might have sung songs like those on Unbreakable Smile. But that epoch crashed through the barriers and down a cliff decades ago now. Virtually no one in the 2010s writes songs like these without a faith influence.

And, indeed, Tori Kelly hasn't been shy when it comes to talking about her Christian faith.

When Billboard magazine asked about how her convictions inform her music, Tori responded, "My faith is a huge part of my life. I don't force it into my music, but it's in my experiences, so it comes through. People pick up on what they want to pick up on, but any way strangers connect to a song that I wrote is awesome."

That approach to subtly blending her faith and her music is evident on a song like "Hollow," where she's crying out for someone to fill the emptiness inside her. "So hold me," she sings, "Wrap me in love, fill my cup/Empty, and only your love can fill my cup." It's not an in-your-face proclamation of faith. But God's definitely there to be found for those who are looking, just as Tori says.

A small handful of suggestive lyrics do curl down the edges of this Smile a bit. (The worst comes from guest contributors.) But compared to virtually any other mainstream starlet you might care to namecheck, Tori Kelly's effervescent, innocent winsomeness is amazingly Unbreakable.

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles



Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Get weekly e-news, Culture Clips & more!