Tuesday, November 24th, 2015

Lauren Daigle – First

It actually took me three listens to realise this was about Jesus, swear to God.


Brad Shoup: Holy shit, have my people not discovered dubstep?!

Jonathan Bogart: Making pop songs about God serves an actual devotional purpose beyond merely mimicking commercial trends to increase market share. Pop songs are, of course, little squib packets of emotion, detonating in order to evoke a particular yearning or pain or exultation or whatever, including mixed emotions, in the listener. Modern US Christianity, as practiced both in church and out, is centered not around agreed-upon doctrine (at least as far as the laity is concerned), but the luxurious experience of emotion; this will be a fantastic addition to any “modern” service’s repertoire. Hands up, feeling committed because you’re singing commitment, tears streaming down cheeks at the the strain of holding the high note. The verses are even theologically meaty enough to build a sermon on, which is relatively rare. The only thing that made it clear to me how long it’s been since I was in the church racket is that her vocal style is very 2010s, which is of course exactly what those still in the church racket want.

Thomas Inskeep: This has the inspirational qualities of Katy Perry’s “Roar,” only it’s about Jesus. And because Daigle is not Perry, it’s much less annoying. I like the understated electronic touches on the verses, and the anthemic chest-beating-ness of its chorus. Daigle’s got a strong voice well-suited for this song, too. 

Iain Mew: There’s no reason why something so devotional shouldn’t be relateable or beautiful. It’s just that the way it leaps to FIEHHHHHHHHHHHHRST so soon and does so little to set the hugeness up to mean something. It’s about as subtle as someone claiming dibs on the earliest contribution to a comments section.

Will Adams: Of course Lauren Daigle’s voice is so warm and inviting; look at who she’s trying to reach. While swells of reversed sounds add weight to the otherwise trad pop ballad template, it’s Daigle whose determination on the soaring chorus lifts “First” to a truly spiritual place.

Patrick St. Michel: It’s ultimately a vocal showcase, but a strong one featuring enough nice electronic touches throughout to keep attention focused up until that big soaring center. And that big soaring center works well within the context of the song, where the focus is on something truly bigger than the self.

Edward Okulicz: Daigle has a nice voice, but oh, this song suffers for it. The chorus feels so unnatural, so that when her vocal lurches into the “FIIIIRST!” bit it’s less a long glance to heaven, and more a graceless flop into the ocean underneath. I think it’s partially the fact that that “ur” vowel sound has never particularly leant itself to long notes, but mostly that it feels like the song doesn’t sound like it’s built around it, more like it’s acquiesced to it like a house to a wrecking ball.

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2 Responses to “Lauren Daigle – First”

  1. thank you, Iain, from now on I will always read those ‘first’ comments as it’s sung in the song

  2. this collection of blurbs is why I’ve been reading this site for nearly three years