Release Date: May 6th 2016
Reviewed by: Jonathan Andre
- How Can It Be
- Trust in You
- My Revival
- Power to Redeem (feat. All Sons and Daughters)
- Here’s My Heart
- O’ Lord
- I Am Yours
- Come Alive (Dry Bones)
- Salt and Light
- Once and For All
- Now is Forever
- First (Deluxe Sessions)
- Come Alive (Dry Bones) (Deluxe Sessions)
- How Can It Be (Live)
Quite possibly one of Christian music’s most exciting and unique new artists to ever have as much success with their debut album since for KING AND COUNTRY’s Crave way back in 2012, Centricity Music worship artist Lauren Daigle has been capturing the best of what worship music has to offer for the last few years, ever since the Jason Ingram/Paul Mabury penned “How Can It Be” was powerfully received and enormously impactful since her release of the track in 2014. 2 years and countless tours later, this 24 year old Louisianan native has become an icon in a CCM industry where new artists can come and go at the drop of a hat. Here’s hoping that Lauren and her music continues to stay for the new few years. And with her release of How Can It Be: Deluxe Edition, Lauren still proves to us (and maybe herself) that she can still sing and lead us all into worship, quite possibly on the same page as Kari Jobe and Christy Nockels vocal-wise. On a label that houses a plethora of artists, from Aaron Shust, Jason Gray, Unspoken, Andrew Peterson and Carrolton, to Jonny Diaz, Jordan Feliz, JJ Weeks Band and Jared Anderson; Lauren’s ability to bring a song to life with her passion and heart is what makes her music special, and this deluxe edition of an album that has been one of my favourites of 2015, continues to show us all how an album can impact lives, even years later.
One thing with deluxe editions of albums is that most are released on the same day as the original, as an iTunes-only purchase, so fans can choose which version to check out. With Lauren’s release, a year later, we see the impact these songs have had in the lives of individuals who have heard the songs, a year later, and whether a year listening to the album has made such an impact on our lives as a whole. Which songs have impacted my life in the year since Lauren’s release of How Can It Be? As I revisit the 12 tracks that are on the standard edition of the album, I see how much beauty, lyrical richness and heartfelt poignancy, is found in these tracks, and how no song is a ‘filler’. Songs like “How Can It Be”, “First” and “Trust in You”, the radio singles from Lauren, have impacted radio the most, and also in my life as well. To dwell on the themes of how God can take our place at the cross, and whether we indeed place God first in our lives, or whether we even trust Him in the moments where trust in God is almost the last thing to hold onto; is almost crucial and paramount in the Christian walk, and these three songs place our thoughts into song in a unique and artistic way. Each of these three tracks continue to minister to us all, and have been the backbone, musically and lyrically, of How Can It Be since its inception in April 2015. These songs have been so successful that Lauren even decided to record an acoustic version of “First”, and a live version of “How Can It Be”, just to show us the impact of the song, regardless of the format.
Glancing through the rest of the 12 song standard edition, we see songs that have continued to impact listeners over the last year, from “Here’s My Heart”, a cover of the David Crowder Band track and a 6 minute emotive, worshipful, heartfelt, and often uncomfortable song with a theme of giving everything to God, and “O Lord”, a percussion heavy 3:30 melody that speaks about the faithfulness of God and how He hears our cries, taking ‘…what’s wrong and make it right…’; to “Power to Redeem”, an acoustically driven duet with folk-worship duo All Sons and Daughters describing how God redeems every situation, no matter how broken it may be. The harmonies of David, Leslie and Lauren highlight the simplicity of the song, and how sometimes a lack of musical instruments makes the voices and the message of the melody more impacting. “Come Alive (Dry Bones)”, originally recorded on CentricWorship’s live EP of the same name, presents a theme of calling dry bones to life, as we are reminded of the story of Ezekiel, and is even featured on the deluxe edition of the album as an acoustic track; while “I Am Yours” highlights the fact that regardless of everything that happens in our lives, we are His. With pulsating drums, Lauren’s heart is revealed in the emotive words to ‘…let the waters rise, I will stand as the oceans roar…You are God over the storm, and I am Yours…’; something for us to consider- do we really believe We are His in these circumstances or not?
“Salt and Light” brings acoustic guitar and stringed instruments into the frame as Lauren makes it known that ‘…You are salt and light, You are love’s great height, You are deep and wide, a consuming fire…’, that one touch of God’s presence will change us forever, just like how salt and light affects whatever it comes into contact with; and album ender “Once And For All” (on the standard edition of the album), a piano only track, encourages us all to lay everything down at Jesus’s feet, trusting that He has paved a way for us to be brought back to Him once and for all. “My Revival” reminds us all to rest in Jesus and He renews our strength, while “Loyal”, the most lyrically repetitious track on the album, describes to us that ‘…Your love is loyal…’, that God will never leave us even if we believe it to be true.
With 2 new songs on How Can It Be: Deluxe Edition, we catch a glimpse into the style of songs Lauren has written and recorded, possibly for her new album in the future. “Wordless” and “Now is Forever” are songs that are just as heartfelt, emotive and encouraging as any song I’ve heard on her 2015 project. Standing at 3:13, the piano led “Now Is Forever” is a song about expectation, expecting God to turn water into wine, for His kingdom to come right now on Earth as it was promised to be in Heaven. Living with that expectation can bring with it a tension when what we expect doesn’t come to pass, yet this song continues to present a yearning for beyond this moment, to ‘…let forever in, show me the moment where I end and You begin. I want to be where Heaven is, oh stay with me until now is forever…’ “Wordless” is potential single material, as Lauren captures in words what it means to be indeed wordless, in awe of the One who redeemed our soul. Such is the irony that a song can capture what it means to have a lack of words when we’re in the presence of our Father, yet “Wordless” shows us beautifully what it means to be undone by what He has and continues to do. It is a chorus in how ‘…I am speechless, but I can’t keep quiet and I am wordless, but I can’t stay silent…I’m lost for words to say…You take my breath away…’ that I’m sure will make “Wordless” a fan favourite in weeks and months to come. Maybe the first single of Lauren’s from her new album in the future?
As these 17 songs come to an end, I sit and ponder- can I listen to the album again, and be just as excited, impacted, rejuvenated and encouraged the second time as I was the first? Most definitely. In fact, Lauren’s 2015 album has been my favourite worship album since Bellarive’s Before There Was (and has how since been surpassed by Meredith Andrews’s Deeper), which tells me something- that regardless how new or experienced an artist is in the industry, it is their heart for Jesus that counts- the rest can fall into place in time. Lauren has given us a near flawless worship album (the only downside is that the album is so good it is over before it began- well, time to hear it again I say!); that continues to assert her as one of the most technically sound and proficient vocalists of this generation. From the title track to pop dance melody “O Lord” to the CCM “Trust in You” and the new songs “Wordless” and “Now is Forever”; each melody is reminding us of the gravity of God’s sacrifice, and that all we can do and say is to come to Him in awe and reverence. An album to be cherished in months to come; Lauren ought to be congratulated for an album well done. A must have for any Lauren Daigle music collector (just do yourself a favour and purchase the deluxe edition, you can give away the standard edition to your friend); songs like “Wordless” and “Now is Forever” will become standouts in Lauren’s concert in the upcoming months ahead. Looking forward to album #2 whenever it arises!
4 songs to listen to: Wordless, How Can It Be, Trust in You, Here’s My Heart
RIYL: Kari Jobe, Christy Nockels, Chris Tomlin, Jesus Culture, Bethel Music