Contemporary Christian singer-songwriter Britt Nicole, who scored two Top 10 hits, You and Set the World on Fire, from her solid debut CD Say It, has followed it up with The Lost Get Found (Sparrow Records, available in the Philippines via import at House of Praise, an 11-track opus that continues from where the 25-year-old left off, combining impeccably produced pop-rock anthems with heady acoustic ballads to produce a sophomore effort that will satisfy current fans and win over new ones.
Vocally, Nicole comes across as a mix of Britney Spears and Avril Lavigne, using a soft, airy delivery for her ballads, and a throaty blast of fire for her uptempo tracks; musically, she offers up a more unique perspective that crosses several genres, and she and her producers (Robert Marvin, Dan Muckala, Adam Smith and Joshua Crosby) have put together some solid tracks that are sure to please. Lyrically and thematically, she continues her tradition of feel-good inspirational pop-rock, which would make The Lost Get Found an essential on any female teen’s record collection. While contemporaries like Krystal Meyers, newcomer Jamie Grace, or Natalie Grant may sound comfortable singing any of these songs, Nicole’s honest delivery will have you believing what she insists to be true: that in a Christian girl’s world, Christ will provide the strength she needs to get through, and that she can expect her friends to come through so they can party the victory afterward.
Shallow? Possibly. Enjoyable? Heck yeah. Most teenage girls, the demographic to whom Nicole’s sound and packaging is designed to appeal, are not going to really go into the apologetics of a Nicole song, which explains why some tracks like Welcome to the Show or How We Roll are really just that, feel-good party anthems that don’t turn up the expletives or sing about sex, drugs, or rock and roll, really just about enjoying the company of people in a party atmosphere. So let’s review the songs, shall we?
The Lost Get Found. The title track, carrier single, and Top 10 hit, is arguably the best song on the album. Britt Nicole has always been a bit of an encourager, even with her first CD – check out You and Set the World on Fire – but The Lost Get Found takes it to the next level, encouraging Christians to go beyond their comfort zones and trust that God will empower them to help the lost get found, so to speak. Sample lyric: So when you get the chance, are you gonna take it? There’s a really big world at your fingertips and you know you have the chance to change it.
How We Roll. Britt’s first uptempo track is a bit of a party anthem, reminiscent of the track Holiday off her first CD. It’s fun, it’s bright, it’s the kind of song I imagine your 17-year-old will want to blare driving down the main highway of your town of choice. Sample lyric: Take your nose off the grindstone, take, take your hands off the keyboard and put down the iPhone and let me hear you say… that’s how we roll.
Safe. The first official ballad of The Lost Get Found isn’t quite the soaring song I was expecting to hear. In Nicole’s defense, she’s not a diva type of singer, so she can’t be expected to deliver something like that, but Safe is everything the title implies it to be; it’s safe and somewhat formulaic. Sample lyric: Everything you want, but it’s everything you need, it’s not always happy endings, but it’s all the in-between… I’m so tired of turning and running away when love just isn’t safe.
Hanging On. The second single off The Lost Get Found, Hanging On is an acoustic midtempo tune that sings about total dependence on God. Not surprisingly, it is reminiscent of the second single off Say It, Set the World on Fire. In my opinion, though, I think Hanging On was a superior single, even if chart performance begs to disagree. It’s one of my favorite tracks off this CD; a likable melody, a readily accessible message, and an earnest delivery make this single one of Britt’s best. Sample lyric: Hanging onto every word You speak ’cause it’s all that I need… even every little whisper I’m hanging on as if it were my life.
Headphones. This track speaks of getting over other people’s negativity, encouraging you to “put on your headphones” when people naysay about you. Lyrically, it’s there; musically, it’s there. Another one of my favorites. Sample lyric: Anytime you feel alone, put on your headphones, love, love’s coming through your headphones.
Welcome to the Show. I personally love it when Nicole launches into her rocker mode. There’s something about a female singer who just loses herself in the passion of her music, whether it’s a ballad or not, but there’s something about Britt’s harder-edged tracks that lets her just sink her teeth into it with gusto. Welcome to the Show was an easy favorite for me. Sample lyric: Hands high like a roller coaster, this love is taking over, take us higher, here we go, Welcome to the show!
Walk On The Water. This is my favorite track on the album! Walk on the Water is a straightforward ballad that sings about taking control of your life, relying on God and your faith, and trusting that great things are possible when you believe. What makes Walk on the Water a winner for me, apart, of course, from the message, is a really strong melodic hook, a lovely little piano line that stamps itself prettily all across the song, and Nicole’s passionate delivery of the song. It’s by far one of her best, and I wish it were a single, because more people need to hear this. Sample lyric: So what are you waiting for? What do you have to lose? Your insecurities, they try to hold to you, but you know you’re made for more, so don’t be afraid to move, your faith is all it takes, and you can walk on the water too.
Glow. The chorus of Glow is a truly catchy one: when Nicole sings “gonna show you something real, like a city on a hill,” you won’t be able to stop yourself from singing along. Musical brain candy if ever we heard it. Sample lyric: Turn the lights down so we can glow, glow, watch us come alive we’re gonna show you something real, like a city on a hill, oh, we’re gonna glow.
Like A Star. This is probably the closest Britt has come to making a love song with crossover appeal, one that may be interpreted as not necessarily one directed at Jesus. I personally don’t mind; it’s important to sing about topics close to the hearts of those to whom you’re ministering, and I think Nicole hits the mark. It’s a sweet little love song, and the melodic hook is great. This’ll make for a lovely slow dance at Christian high school proms, lol. Sample lyric: I see you like a star in the sky, and I love it, yeah, the light in your eyes and I wonder when you’re looking in mine, do you see them like a star in the sky.
Feel the Light. Many reviewers feel iffy about Feel the Light, and so do I. Compared to so many other excellent ballads on this CD, Feel the Light doesn’t really connect as strongly. This isn’t an indication of an inferior track, though; I think it’s just a case of it being overshadowed by so many other superior tracks. Sample lyric: Your heart is tangled up in silence, it’s time to let go and feel the light
Have Your Way. Nicole closes The Lost Get Found with a worshipful ballad that sings about total surrender. It’s sparse, it’s poetic, and it’s honest in its admission of human fallibility and error, and the redemption that follows after total surrender to God. It’s a lovely way to end the album. Sample lyric: So I’ll stop searching for answers, I’ll stop praying for an escape, and I’ll trust You, God, with where I am, just believe that You will have Your way.
The Lost Get Found comes highly recommended for teenage girls, who I think will enjoy the musicality and issues that Nicole deals with. Her message of positivity and reliance on God shines brightly throughout most of the tracks, and almost every song here is a winner. Others who don’t fall into that demographic will appreciate Nicole’s passion, songwriting skill, and earnest delivery on all the songs, even if some may find the music on the uptempo tracks a bit sonically jarring. (What does one expect? It’s aimed at teens!)
Rating: Four stars (* * * *)
The Lost Get Found is available as an import at all House of Praise branches across the Philippines. Suggested retail price is Php495, an excellent value considering the value of the peso vs. the dollar now; if you’d ordered it from abroad, you would have probably spent over Php700 including shipping and handling.