Britt Nicole:

Gold

 

My #1 Album

in 2012

Released

in 2012

on Sparrow Records

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This page was first created July 1, 2012

It was first published on March 30, 2014

This is Britt Nicole’s third full-length studio album, and my second album of hers. She began singing at age  3 and was active in singing at church and school through out her growing up years. She recorded her first album, Say It, in 2006, which was released the following year.

This is the first time an artist appeared on the top two spots in my Annual Music Awards in the same year.  Although I bought the albums in two separate years, I listened to them nearly an equal number of times in 2012.  I also had deeply meaningful spiritual experiences with both albums. Yes, 2012 is the year I “discovered” Britt Nicole.  I had known about her since her debut album Say It, having seen it in the catalog of the [now defunct] mail order CD membership club Sound & Spirit (a BMG club), but I never got around to buying it.  When I was ready to buy a Britt Nicole album, her second album was out.  The first one was more of a dance pop sound, while her second album, The Lost Get Found, was more of a straight-up pop sound.  Normally I like a dance beat better, but the quality of the music was higher on her second album, so I got that one.  When I learned in 2012 that her third album, Gold, was out, I snapped it up in April, less than a month after it was released.


From the opening notes of the first track of Gold, it was clear that this album was a jump up in production.  Immediately I noticed it had a production so professional that it sounded like it could fit right in on secular radio.  Indeed, a year later, the album was re-released by Capitol Records, and this opening song, “Gold,” made it to #28 on Billboard’s pop radio airplay chart.  It even made it to #33 on the Billboard dance music charts.  My ears were correct.


Despite the catchy melody (the song can easily get stuck in my head) and great music, “Gold” is my least favorite song on the album, due to the lyrics.  The song can be a secular hit because in terms of Christian message, it’s really weak:  “Whatever you’ve been told, you’re worth more than gold.”  Yes, a Christian understands this because of knowing the love of God, but the totality of the lyrics here just sound like a self-esteem message.


Though the lyrics in the opening track are unsatisfactory to me, I found the rest of the album to be more explicitly Christian in nature than her previous album, which was often so vague that it took me a long time to attach some meaning to the words for me -- probably the biggest reason The Lost Get Found didn’t make my Annual Music Awards last year, when I bought the album.  I didn’t have that “learning curve,” so to speak, with the lyrics on Gold -- they were accessible right out of the box.  Add the stellar production and quality of the music on top of that, and this album was easily my #1 of 2012.

So, the album really kicks in for me at track #2, “All This Time.”  Wow.  The emotion in this song, as well as so many others on this album, is so powerful that it often brings tears to my eyes.  Many of the songs on this album speak of facing hard times, but always with a very solid foundation of hope, a hope that comes from the solid foundation of a relationship with Jesus.


The chorus of “All This Time” is in a way a summary of the album’s theme, intersecting the hard times with the way relationship with Jesus makes them a time of a deeper walk with him.


All this time

From the first tear cried

‘Til today’s sunrise

And every single moment between

You were there

You were always there

It was you & I

You’ve been walking with me

All this time


The second verse continues...


Every heartache and failure, every broken dream

You’re the God who sees, the God who rescued me

This is my story

But it’s not just the lyrics.  It’s the quality of the music, the power of the production, and fullness of her emotion that propels this from an ordinary Christian song to a spectacular one.  Even though this song is a ballad, it’s one that I crank up the volume on.


The next song, “Look Like Love” is mid-tempo with another powerful chorus that expresses the desire to exhibit Christ’s love to others.  This is followed by a vertically-directed song, “Who You Say You Are,” continuing the theme begun with “All This Time,” that even though “everything is falling apart...I’m still smiling...because I believe that you are who you say you are.”


Track #5, “Ready Or Not,” brings an energetic pop-dance jam -- complete with guest rapper Lecrae -- that is infectious.  Like “Gold,” this is also very radio friendly in terms of production quality and melodic catchiness, though due to the lyrics I doubt it will ever be a secular hit. (However, Captiol Records has released it as a single...)  Even for me, the lyrics make me a bit uncomfortable because they exude an attitude of “I have the answer for the world” in its evangelical zeal.  So, though I do have fun with the music of the song, I can’t relate to it as well as I might be able to if I could relate to the lyrics better.


After this, the album returns to its earlier theme of hanging on to God during the tough times -- three songs with this theme:  “Breakthrough,” “Stand,” and “The Sun Is Rising.”


The chorus of “Breakthrough” is a great one for my speakers...the house-shaking bass, the foundational electronic buzz, and the killer dubstep-influenced brief interlude.


“Stand” is a slower, pretty pop song with an unusual twist: thundering up-front drums in the verses.  Since I love powerful drums, that’s a touch I greatly appreciate. Like the previous songs on the album, this song’s chorus is also emotionally powerful.   The lyrics in the bridge recall a well-known hymn:  “On your promise, I will stand; all other ground is sinking sand.”


“The Sun Is Rising” is the quietest song yet on the album, though it’s still got more going on percussion-wise than many of the tracks on her previous album.  This one has a pretty glittering piano backdrop, and a touching, hopeful melody in the backup words, “The sun is rising” at the end of the song.  Gorgeous.

After the quiet reflection of “The Sun Is Rising,” the dance beats kick in again with “Amazing Life.”  This song is another very radio friendly pop dance jam, and in fact I put it on a playlist of mine with Britney Spears, Lady GaGa, and Madonna, and it fit right in.  And fortunately for me, I can relate to the lyrics, unlike “Gold” and “Ready Or Not.”  After you’ve endured a bunch of pain and suffering, sometimes you just gotta break out and have a good time.  Put in more spiritual terms, this song is a time to push those bad times out of mind and think about the big picture, the glory of God’s creation and his marvelous seeking of fellowship with us.


It’s a beautiful world we’ve been given

From the top of the sky to the ocean...

It’s a magical thing, a starry night...

It’s a colorful, colorful world painted so bright

Gonna walk on air, gonna take flight


After some time of just feeling great, she pulls it in to the source:


You’re the burning in my heart that never dies, never dies

Without you here my world is black and white...

You’re the one I can’t replace

Need you by my side

You’re the reason for this amazing life!


At 3:34, this song is way too short for me.  I need a 6 or 7 minute version of this one.  Here’s hoping a remix is made....

The next song, “Still That Girl,” returns to the main theme of the album, that of not giving up despite hard times, but with a more foundational encouragement than just getting through the present moment: It’s a call to return to your former big dreams and not let what has happened take all the wind out of your sails:


You were young, you were free

And you dared to believe you could be the girl

Who could change the world

Then your life took a turn and you fell and it hurt

But you’re still that girl

And you’re gonna change this world

You’re still that girl!


What if the picture is bigger than you see

And God has you right where he wants you to be?

Just listen to your heart -- he’s telling you with every beat

You’re still that girl


One thing I admire of young people is that they often have big dreams of how they will change the world, but unfortunately as the realities of life, the setbacks, and the failures start to accumulate, the dream too often dies.  This song is a great encouragement to keep that dream alive.  Again, not only in its lyrics, but also in the vibrant, bright hopefulness that she delivers the song with.


The album closes with the quietest song of the set, which is not unusual for any album, but the notable thing here is that it’s the first song on the album without any percussion pushing things along -- a good thing for me, because I generally don’t like slow songs.  This album is full of energy, even in the slower songs, which makes it a delight for me.


Still, that does not mean this song makes me yawn (as slows songs often do).  This track, even in its quiet reflectiveness, is as emotionally powerful as anything else on this album.  This song is the most worshipful on the album, with a sense of being overcome with joy and awe at the mysterious beauty of God.


I lay here under the stars in awe of who you are

You’ve never been so real

I’ll never understand it fully

Lost here in your beauty

No words could say how I feel


Those are the opening words.  The song continues in this vein, with a striking special moment toward the end that is so deep and heartfelt that I don’t want to print the lyrics here; they need to be experienced in the moment.

“Seeing For The First Time” is such a fitting ending to an album whose theme throughout is the continuous presence of God, the wonder of his intimate care, and the hope we have no matter what because of his care.


I have had so many deeply moving worshipful moments while listening to this album.  What an astounding album -- it’s got everything I could ask for: Excellent music, professional production quality, musical styles I like, all wrapped up with deeply meaningful spiritual lyrics that bring me into communion with God.  That’s why it’s my #1 album of 2012.

BRITT NICOLE LINKS


Britt Nicole’s Website:

http://www.brittnicole.com/


Britt Nicole’s Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/brittnicole


Britt Nicole’s Twitter:

@ItsBrittNicole

https://twitter.com/itsbrittnicole


Britt Nicole’s Instagram:

http://instagram.com/itsbrittnicole


Britt Nicole on YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/user/brittnicolemusic

The music video for the album’s opening track, Gold.

^ Click the play button to hear “All This Time,” the second track on the album.  I had a difficult time deciding which song to feature...they’re all so good!  But I finally chose this one because it has the strongest emotional impact to me, and provides my most powerful connection with God.

This album was re-released by Capitol Records in 2013 with the above album cover