Lauren Daigle’s Grammy Award Winning Album “Look Up Child” to be released December 11 in 45RPM LP Format
Look Up Child
Jason Ingram & Paul Mabury, producers
Music: 4 Sound:4
Lauren Daigle, the Louisiana-bred, 29 year-old singer-songwriter sings her own spirited and thoughtful brand of youth-oriented Christian music. Her breakout third album, Look Up Child (2018), resonated well beyond her faith-based fans, broadened her audience and became the highest-charting Christian album by a woman in over 20 years. It brought home a pair of Grammys in 2018, one for the album another for her crossover hit “You Say”. Look Up Child is primed for a deluxe limited-edition re-release on December 11. It is being reissued as a 45RPM twin LP set and has been remastered by engineering maestro Bernie Grundman. The heavy 180gram pressings were manufactured courtesy of Quality Record Pressings. The white glove treatment also includes a double-gatefold jacket with metallic foil accents and is printed on heavy cardstock. Production is limited to 1500 numbered units.
Daigle who co-write most of the catchy, mid-tempo songs and ballads doesn’t play to the congregation as much as lean into the deeply introspective. She’s not a spill-your-guts diarist like Alanis Morrisette. She doesn’t sing about bad boyfriends and breakups a la Taylor Swift. However, by mining her darker impulses Daigle’s deeply personal message of faith is in the retelling of her own rebellious journey, one that continually challenges her to stay on the path. Daigle’s voice is wide-ranging, torchy and blues inflected. It rises from a deep, smokey thrum to soaring full-throated crescendos. In fact as singers go, there’s much more Adele in her vocal stylings chords than Amy Grant. Her powerballad-blessed set of pipes is ideally suited for the uplifting and gospel-tinged title track or the hit “You Say” Other impressive tracks include the redemptive and anthemic “Rescue” , the rhythmic, reggae-tinged “Your Wings” or the R&B flavor of “This Girl”.
This remastering was sourced from 24-bit/44kHz files. I first listened to the MQA Master version on Tidal and I was impressed by the sonics of the original. The 45RPM format improves over the streaming digital by bringing along a more extended low-end, more detailed and percussive dynamic impact and, most of all the waves of orchestral strings and choir that create a near immersive–even embracing–spatiality. Curiously, the arrangements themselves are prosaic and overly safe and often don’t match the intensity of Daigle’s vocal. There’s a muted almost ethereal quality that underpins many of these tracks. Most importantly is the way the expressive, emotional complexities of Daigles voice have been reproduced. It’s nicely pocketed in each track for clarity. It’s an evocative instrument that has been given plenty of room in the mix to shine.
While Daigle stays on message throughout, listeners don’t need to be rigorously Christian, agnostic or even particularly spiritual to be inspired by Daigle’s music and talent. In my view, Look Up Child opts instead for universal truths, the acceptance of our faults and failures, and the larger questions of our own place in the world. In that sense at least, Lauren Daigle has made a convert out of me.
By Neil Gader
My love of music largely predates my enthusiasm for audio. I grew up Los Angeles in a house where music was constantly playing on the stereo (Altecs, if you’re interested). It ranged from my mom listening to hit Broadway musicals to my sister’s early Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Beatles, and Stones LPs, and dad’s constant companions, Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett. With the British Invasion, I immediately picked up a guitar and took piano lessons and have been playing ever since. Following graduation from UCLA I became a writing member of the Lehman Engel’s BMI Musical Theater Workshops in New York–working in advertising to pay the bills. I’ve co-written bunches of songs, some published, some recorded. In 1995 I co-produced an award-winning short fiction movie that did well on the international film-festival circuit. I was introduced to Harry Pearson in the early 70s by a mutual friend. At that time Harry was still working full-time for Long Island’s Newsday even as he was writing Issue 1 of TAS during his off hours. We struck up a decades-long friendship that ultimately turned into a writing gig that has proved both stimulating and rewarding. In terms of music reproduction, I find myself listening more than ever for the “little” things. Low-level resolving power, dynamic gradients, shadings, timbral color and contrasts. Listening to a lot of vocals and solo piano has always helped me recalibrate and nail down what I’m hearing. Tonal neutrality and presence are important to me but small deviations are not disqualifying. But I am quite sensitive to treble over-reach, and find dry, hyper-detailed systems intriguing but inauthentic compared with the concert-going experience. For me, true musicality conveys the cozy warmth of a room with a fireplace not the icy cold of an igloo. Currently I split my time between Santa Fe, New Mexico and Studio City, California with my wife Judi Dickerson, an acting, voice, and dialect coach, along with border collies Ivy and Alfie.More articles from this editor
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