Look Up Child
Released in 2018, 13 tracks, 51 min
"Look Up Child"
Lauren Daigle sounds a lot like Adele, and that’s epic on ‘Look Up Child’
Perhaps it is hard to be wholly original in this day and age, and therefore there is plenty of copycatting going on, and that’s not so great if your music doesn’t sound fantastic, yet it’s not a bad thing necessarily if your music is on par with the most popular Pop vocalist of the last decade. Dead ass, you can’t tell me that the prevailing piano melody for hit single You Say isn’t a pretty clear rip of Adele’s Someone Like You. Anywhere on Look Up Child where Lauren Daigle opens her mouth, we hear a power on par with the current Queen of Pop – evidence to submit towards the doppelganger claims, where the gospel star vocalizes in a style more similar between these two singers than that of Adele to Aretha Franklin. Knowing this, how much originality does Daigle possess on her album Look Up Child? Hard to say, but it sure all sounds amazing! And what’s more, for devout fans of contemporary Christian music, do the liberties taken here offend in anyway, as they are not in line enough with scripture? Speaking for myself, this album sounds like what I have heard from contemporary Christian music, with its characteristic softness, emphasis on human voicing, power chords and wall of sound moments. The guitar music played here is always easy to listen to, and all of these elements taken as a whole would not be enough to keep me interested. I am not a super church going type, and can not be swayed just but sticking to the script. No, it is the Soul within this contemporary Christian music that holds my attention most. Any voice that attempts to be closer to Gospel singing, I am hooked - and through this, begin to feel the Spirit.
Raw power backed up by the power of Pop
I have to say, I’m really impressed with this vocalist’s singing style on Look Up Child. Daigle’s voice flows effortlessly, soaring like an albatross against the crash of grand drums and holy harmony on You Say. It truly is something special when simple progression actually thrills the listener, in the light of confident vocal ability and masterful instrumentation. The goosebumps will rise, rest assured, not only on this track, but also on Rescue and Remember. While Love Like This covers much of the melodic territory already explored on You Say, at the moment I was ready to write it off as lackluster, a glorious chorus revealed itself, rivaling the harmonic intensity of the more popular single. Choruses such as this are in the same mode as lots of her already amazing output, and if you like those big body high style of vocals and chords, you might do yourself a favor and go back to her Daigle’s debut album How Can It Be, making sure to take in the huge sound of the title track ‘How Can It Be.” This is not the actual debut album, just the studio debut album - to hear her first debut album work, one would be quite technically pleased with her first contemporary Christian music album EP Be Joyous. Alas, Look Up Child is still the best of the bunch, as it is free to exist in a broader category of music, and with this crossover ability, everyone can appreciate its music, and not feel that they are listening to something that is too niche or ‘other.’
Typical tunes with ten-fold transitions
While there are noticeable melodic similarities between the title track “Look Up Child” and Ed Sheeran’s “Castle On the Hill” (because the Predictable Pop Gods ordain this), leave it to Daigle and team to lure us in with something familiar, and then hook us with a funky and authentic afro pop treat which sounds beautiful and bounce-worthy. Almost every song on the track contains this notion of a hidden transition aimed to delight, and in particular, Still Rolling Stones and Your Wings have their own grooves which bloom over time, while This Girl and Rebel Heart both weave interlocking R&B and Pop patterns, though in the case of the latter, clever chords are not serviced well by the obvious button note at the end of each stanza. Because I am so thrilled by aspects of this album, I am harder on it when it comes to these pandering ‘button’ notes, or an overly simple melody line. I want to be challenged by my music at all times, irregardless of the target audience. To this end, contemporary Christian music never needs to be predictable, cliche, corny, or bland - just think about the fact that all Soul music is based on African American Gospel music, born in the church way back when. Shoot, the Funk music I grew up on is also based on the instrumental creativity birthed in the church, and the emotional, wild vocal belting of Gospel music. While the album Look Up Child doesn’t get ‘wild’, I really bet that Lauren Daigle has enough range and emotion that she could, should she choose to.
Does Daigle’s contemporary Christian music message trump her Pop sensibilities?
While many audience members of the faith will delight in the notion of a Gospel singer singing and writing songs that sound like a top notch Adele Pop album, for church-going critics, the Christian message in this contemporary Christian music may be either too hidden, or more concerning – too progressive in its description of one’s relationship with God. No track on Look Up Child illustrates this controversy more than Losing My Religion, a pretty sounding track that also contains some challenging words – “no one can love me like You do (no no no no no no) / so why would I want a substitute / I'm losing my religion”. To the faithful’s point, the lyrics are sung in way that suggests a more physical-love relationship, and the hook about ‘losing one’s religion’ sets off alarm bells about the nature of Daigle’s beliefs. She needs ‘something different’ she claims, and seems to want to reinterpret the norms in order to finally find what she is looking for. While I here what the religious folks say about not wanting the teachings of The Bible to be messed with, for fear of offending God, I tend to side with many people who say that all of this is up to interpretation, and so long as no one is purposely trying to offend, but instead presenting another way of seeing and feeling about such a massive subject as Christianity, then it should be allowed. Perhaps humans are supposed to use their gift of seeing things in a new way, or else there would be no spiritual evolution, period.
Grooving to Daigle’s Christian Crusade
The album’s most straight up soulful number happens to be the last track, a funky-fashioned rendition of the classic gospel track Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus. Fascinating is the way with which Daigle’s band completely break down the familiar tune, reshaping it in such a way that the layman simply will not recognize the fact that it is a cover, until perhaps 3 quarters into the song. The instrumentation features prominent organ and piano playing, while the beat leans towards neo-soul, a perfect compliment to Daigle’s liberal application of smoky vibrato. Close your eyes and nod your head to the groove – for you are being blessed with something different through standards such as these, which run the stylistic gamut, crisscrossing between vocal pop, R&B, synth, and world beats. With a subtle unobtrusive spirituality, feed your senses and your soul with the contemporary Christian music album Look Up Child.
Official Music Videos
"Look Up Child"
"Look Up Child"
"Look Up Child"