A voice like Adele and a passion like Misty Edwards make for an impressive debut.
How Can it Be
Artist: Lauren Daigle (www.laurendaigle.com)
Length: 12 tracks/50:48 minutes
The voice I hear on Lauren Daigle’s debut, How Can it Be, reminds me of Adele and the International House of Prayer’s, Misty Edwards. Each of them can sound both smoky and delicate. It adds weight in this God-directed release.
Like Edwards, Daigle is a worshipper. She continually addresses the Almighty. These songs have more in common with the intricacies of the Psalms than the sing-a-long variety. Modern worshippers rejoice! This has plenty of substance.
Like Adele, the music is a hybrid of styles creating something new and modern. It’s a triumph of acoustic and synthesized sounds. A number of tracks have a distinctive hip-hop rhythm.
A personal favorite is “Trust in You,” whose title could easily be a theme for the recording. The handclaps bring a smile, as well as the chorus, “When you don’t move the mountains I’m needing you to move/When you don’t part the waters I wish I could walk through/When you don’t give me answers as I cry out to you/I will trust, I will trust, I will trust in you.” I hear an endearing lightness and it’s easy to identify with the thought of life being a battle and more than a little unpredictable.
“I Am Yours” has allusions to Psalm 46 and perhaps unknowingly to Psalm 29. “Let the waters rise I will stand as the oceans roar/Let the earth shake beneath/Let the mountains fall/You are God over the storm/And I am yours.” This is unshakeable confidence framed in majesty. No matter what may come, “The LORD sits enthroned over the flood; the LORD sits enthroned as king forever” (Psalm 29:10). Though our world be shaken, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1). Daigle’s voice makes this regal, fitting for a King that presides over all.
She can make a chorus epic, but the last two tracks offer a change of pace. They have minimal production and are primarily acoustic. They convey tranquility as Daigle exhibits a softer side. Whether singing softly or at the top of her lungs, a passion for worship is evident. Her focus is God.
The closing “Once and For All” is just Daigle accompanied by piano. She starts off soulfully and becomes increasingly earnest, “Oh let this be where I die/My Lord with thee, crucified/Be lifted high as my kingdoms fall/Once and for all/Once and for all.” It brings to mind what Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote, “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.”
One of my favorite thoughts from Scripture highlights our need: “We all stumble in many ways” (James 3:2). As Robert Robinson wrote in a hymn, “Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, Prone to leave the God I love; Here’s my heart, O take and seal it, Seal it for Thy courts above.” It’s why I like the line, “Be lifted high as my kingdoms fall.” Live enough years and it’s not hard to see the wreckage. Our kingdoms fall. Our best efforts fall short. Thankfully, it’s not about our performance. It’s all about the God who continually gives grace to the undeserving.
I can imagine “Once and For All” closing a concert. The most appropriate response might be silence rather than applause. Hearing it makes me feel like the psalmist David when he writes, “I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me” (Psalm 131: 2).
“Oh Lord, I lay it down/Help me to lay it down,” Daigle sings. It strikes a responsive chord within. My attention is no longer on the singer and song.