Headphones On and Look Up, Child
Lauren Daigle brings the same soul and a slightly new sound to her latest album
Lauren Daigle is capturing ears and hearts, and not just on Christian music stations. With the release of her third studio album, Look Up Child, Daigle continues to produce heartfelt, prayerful, and enjoyable songs for all of her listeners.
There is no denying the certain clichés and traps that Christian artists often fall into. Do they attempt to imitate pop artists, in order to steal a spot on a chart? Do they accept the simple lyrics that will echo in listeners heads, to ensure they’re remembered? Do they make sure their songs fit into auditoriums, stadiums, and church basements alike, to ensure they’re played at worship nights?
Lauren Daigle took her spot on the charts. Her lyrics are memorable and her songs are played at worship events of all sizes. She manages this, though, while also creating real meaning and a space for reflection, prayer, and a deepening of relationship.
Look Up Child debuted at number three on the Billboard 200, falling only to Kesha and Camila Cabello. The second track on the album, “Rescue,” took a coveted spot on the seventh episode of this year’s season of Grey’s Anatomy (the episode was viewed by 6.6 million people and yes, that show is still going).
While her first album was a more straightforward worship album, Daigle explores a variety of genres and sounds within the thirteen tracks of this one. “Look Up Child” (“Even in our suffering / Even when it can’t be seen / I know you’re in control”), and “Your Wings” (“Whatever comes at me / I’m safe, I’m safe / You got me under Your wings”) both bounce with a reggae influence. “Still Rolling Stones” prompted a passenger in my car to ask if I was playing Adele, and it’s understandable. It’s a rolling (sorry) pop-rock song, complete with a gospel choir and quiet strings that allow Daigle’s powerful voice to take center stage, and it does demonstrate the Christian artist’s remarkable similarities with the British pop icon.
The song “Losing My Religion” follows the now-popular evangelical trend of trading ritual and religious services for a relationship with God and God alone. But throughout the album, and across Daigle’s entire repertoire, are songs that would not be out of place in an Adoration service (I’m looking at you, EXALT). “Love Like This”, and “Everything” proclaim God’s goodness, presence, and love, and do so in an almost simple way that shapes them perfectly for quiet prayer in front of the Blessed Sacrament.
Look Up Child doesn’t shy away from the slow power ballads that allow Daigle’s sound to shine. “You Say” is a moving reminder of our worth even in the moments it is hardest to see it (“You say I am loved when I can’t feel a thing / You say I am strong when I think I am weak / You say I am held when I am falling short / When I don’t belong, oh You say that I am Yours”). In “Remember,” Daigle draws eyes towards God’s faithfulness, even in seasons of darkness (“I remember, I remember / Even when my own eyes could not see / You were there, always there”).
Look Up Child is filled with reminders of God’s faithfulness. Lauren Daigle proclaims His goodness in quiet ballads, through rolling rhythms, and with powerful vocals. The album is a testament to Daigle’s talent and artistic strength, but it is also a testament to the God who loves us perfectly and completely. She asks the right questions (“What have I done to deserve love like this?”), she reaches for the saving power of God (in His voice: “I will send out an army to find you / In the middle of the darkest night / It’s true, I will rescue you”), and she calls us to surrender our plans and allow God to shape our lives (“take this rebel heart and make it Yours”). It is beautiful music, and it offers a beautiful challenge to each and every one of her listeners.
There is an invitation hidden, and not-so-hidden, within Daigle’s powerful voice and captivating sound. We are invited to offer our lives and failings to a God who makes us whole, to recognize the overwhelming love of our Father who loved us into being, and to refocus our very selves upon the Person who never fails us. And, I would note, the experience of the sacraments only makes that radical love Lauren Daigle sings of all the more apparent.
Whether it is on Christian radio stations, hospital dramas, mainstream award shows, or worship nights, I have to affirm what Daigle sings on her album: “this girl ain’t going anywhere”.
Maggie Garnett is a first year studying Theology and Constitutional Studies. She can be found listening to this album in the Saint Thomas More Chapel, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.