Look Up Child, the second studio album by Lauren Daigle, snatches listeners to their feet, quiets theirs doubts, reinforces positive narratives of faith and simultaneously challenges obsolete views of spirituality using powerful lyrics and music infused with island, jazz, and classical sounds. Daigle flows from anthems to hymns smoothly like thread through the eye of a needle. The intelligent lyrics that integrate and personalize spiritual concepts and stories serve as the thread. The resulting psalmody metaphorically engenders a shawl that can be used as a warm blanket for cold days, tied around the waist as a skirt for a dance, or employed as a head wrap for island days. Daigle expands on the precedent set in her debut album of creating music relatable to the modern Christian woman and her ever evolving life.
The piano unfolds in “Still Rolling Stones” and falls into a driving, percussive rhythm that plucks the listener and pulls them into the music. As Daigle sings, “Rise up!” any doubt or uncertainty about the song is erased. This song is a hit. She sweeps the listener with her melodies and bombastic music. The up-tempo drums paired with the driving piano pieces forces hands in the air and bodies to spin around in a dance. When the bridge hits and the tempo slows, Daigle sings, “I thought that I was too far gone, For everything I’ve done wrong, Yeah I’m the one who dug this grave, But You called my name, You called my name.”
Throughout the song, Daigle heralds, “You’re still rolling stones.” The lyric is a reference to the Bible story of Daniel who is thrown into a den with lions for his faith, but escapes after 24 hours unscathed after the stone was rolled away the following day. The lyrics of the chorus combined with the bridge indicate and encourage that no matter how far one strays, that He has the power to still roll the stones. Few can integrate biblical stories into contemporary music without seeming hokey or antiquated. Daigle shares this ability with colleague Cory Asbury who won K-Love’s Breakout Single of the Year and Worship Song of the Year awards with “Reckless Love” that references the story about the 99 sheep being risked for the sake of the one.
Other songs that snatch listeners to their feet in a similar way are “This Girl,” “Your Wings,” and “Look Up Child.” “Your Wings” personifies an island vacation complete with coconut drinks and sand between the toes as the chorus sings, “Ooo lalala,” followed with Daigle’s, “You’ve got me under your wings,” while the drums embody a reggae groove. The title track, “Look Up Child,” begins with a crawl, but the drums pop in an island groove as Daigle sings doubtful cries that are met with assured reminders to, “Look up, child!” This track features a choir as well. They sing, “I can hear you say, you say, you say,” and the island feel almost seems identical to the scene in the Lion King where Timon and Pumbaa are sauntering through the savannah singing, “Hakuna matata,” which is funny because Pumbaa advises Simba that he only needs two words. The advice is the same as Daigle’s in this song (Look + Up = 2 words).
The slower tracks on this album read almost like love letters and reminders of faith and promises. The aforementioned tracks are “Rescue,” “You Say” (the first single off of this album),“Love Like This,” and “Everything.” The piano strikes slowly and intentionally in “Rescue.” The piano stands alone, no drums or other instrument with the exception of Daigle as she sings:
“You are not hidden
There’s never been a moment
You were forgotten
You are not hopeless
Though you have been broken
Your innocence stolen”
She continues to sing that He will send an army to find you in the middle of the darkness. The crescendo of the song includes stringed instruments as the lyrics remind the listener that He will never stop and will always be there as a rescue. The minimalistic style of the track allows the lyrics to stand out as a reassuring flare gun bursting in the air against a midnight sky.
Look Up, Child showcases how Daigle has grown as an artist and woman. The use of the stringed instruments and orchestral features illuminate her growth as a musician. “Rebel Heart” conveys how she has evolved in life. She sings, “Help me lay the renegade to rest.” In her past album, she sings about complete willingness in “Here’s My Heart,” and “I’m Yours.” “Rebel Heart,” touches on how one can be willing, but still struggle to completely hand it over. Piano bookends the double chorus of, “I give it all to you,” as a trumpet announcing willingness. Daigle integrates Frances Ridley Havergal’s hymn, “Take my life and let it be,” which is about surrendering it all. The integration showcases Daigle’s growth as a musician and is smart and comforting to traditional hymnists. Daigle tackles this task again in “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus.” Daigle transforms this staple hymn into a majestic, moving, piece that grooves and serves as a perfect praise and worship track. The loyalty and employment of longstanding spiritual tenets and hymns that are associated with strict religious institutions are juxtaposed with “Losing My Religion,” where Daigle sings, “I’m losing my religion to find you.” The twist to Havergal’s hymn and “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus,” the use of the biblical story with Daniel and the den, along with “Losing My Religion” demonstrate evolution of Daigle, but also within spirituality and conveys a powerful message of love and oneness with a higher power that always rescues, loves like no other and fits any situation or season.