My Rating: Must Listen! [5.0 / 5.0]
A woman who needs no introduction, Lauren Daigle is set to release her highly anticipated, sophomore studio album Look Up Child on Sept 7. Daigle burst onto the scene only within the last few years, unveiling her first studio album How Can It Be in 2015. Daigle’s unmatched vocal talent and honest, relatable personality turned heads fast. She has been awarded Billboard Music Award’s Top Christian Artist and Album, GMA Dove Award’s New Artist, Album, Song, and Songwriter of the Year… and the list goes on. Unsurprisingly, Look Up Child continues to build her unstoppable momentum. Daigle’s songwriting range could scale a mountain, and her voice is one of those rare, special talents that could truly transform anything into something amazing. Daigle describes the album best by saying: “From soaring melodies to reggae jive, from sweeping orchestral ballads to back beat vibe, Look Up Child has transcribed the pulse of my veins to musical form.” This 13 track album, clearly a very personal project, is a release you definitely won’t want to miss.
The album starts off with “Still Rolling Stones,” previously released in August as the second single from this album. Simply, wow. The vibe of this track is not like anything else out right now. It begins with attention-grabbing, quivering orchestral notes, interrupted as Daigle breaks out into powerful, soulful storytelling along with a rhythmic piano. The melody opens up and pours out into a beautiful chorus, as Daigle is joined by a choir. The song changes direction, switching back to its orchestral origins for the bridge, and then pivoting forward to return to its popping groove and belting chorus. The band elaborates with its own expressive accompaniment that carries out the tune to the end. The songwriting and accompaniment contain layered complexity and emotion, as Daigle paints powerful imagery of Jesus’ resurrection and the magnitude it still carries today.
Daigle successfully uses a variety of styles to create worship, particularly in songs like “Your Wings.” It begins with a mystical, romantic feel on piano and strings before morphing into a reggae groove as the song continues. This uncommon style combination works well to create a fun, relaxed tune that celebrates our constant protection by God from every fear and trial we face. Another unique track, “Turn Your Eyes,” is Daigle’s reworking of the classic hymn, “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus.” The piano introduction has hints of organ reverb, reminiscent of its origins, before a simple drum set beat and cascading, twinkling piano fills in to carry the rest of the tune.
Proving you don’t need bells and whistles to create a breathtaking moment, Daigle also creates powerful worship from simplistic instrumentation and vocals. “Rescue” begins with a quiet, simple, piano chorded introduction. While the dynamics and instrumentation ebb and flow, Daigle’s vocals and piano are the foundation. She packs so much humility and passion into this song that it is dripping with it. She somehow transports herself through the speakers, sits on the couch next to you, and shares the depths and lengths to which God will go to rescue you from darkness. The song conjures up significant emotion and creates a personal “church” moment in your car, kitchen, or wherever you are listening to it. Written with similar simplicity is “Rebel Heart,” where piano, orchestral strings and an occasional choir join Daigle’s expressive vocals to mold moments of quiet worship and rising exclamation. Again, Daigle makes a nod to traditional hymns as she weaves a beautiful interlude of the hymn “Take My Life and Let It Be” into the middle of the song, painting it new. The message describes a surrendering to God, asking Him to take our stubborn and restless hearts and make them His.
Daigle’s vocals are breathtaking, each intonation and phrase refined and intentional, yet effortless. Her smoky smooth tone is perfectly pitched, able to expertly weave soft, delicate phrases as well as explode with powerhouse strength. Her songwriting talent jumps off the tracks. Look Up Child is a masterful accomplishment and might possibly be the best album release of this year.
Daigle has shared she can’t wait to connect with listeners on her upcoming Look Up Child tour, and once you hear this album, you’ll be clamoring for tickets. For more information regarding tour stops, and to preorder Look Up Child, visit her website.