One Man In The Middle brings you regular, unbiased and honest reviews of music albums and EPs from Christian artists and musicians in the UK and worldwide. Here we have Britt Nicole by Britt Nicole with an overall review score of 8.1 out of 10.
Her announcement comes as a welcome surprise to her bevy of growing fans who have long suffered the wait since her last mega hit, Gold, which landed Britt her first Grammy nomination and fifth #1 radio single the same year.
The highly-anticipated deluxe compilation of high-energy tracks and catchy hooks will feature 14 new songs, including lead single “Through Your Eyes,” which is rapidly climbing the charts, already hitting top 10 on the Christian Hot AC radio chart.
“There was no box [with this album], no rules. I just wrote from my heart and had fun,” says Britt. Adding, “I titled this record Britt Nicole because there is a part of me in every song. I felt a lot of freedom in the writing— There are songs about my husband, my kids, my friends, my struggles and my faith. It is a true representation of who I am.”
Britt Nicole burst onto the Christian music scene back in 2007 with her pop sound that was squarely aimed at Christian teens and twenties. The youthful pop tunes mixed with some worshipful lyrics and big label backing won her many listeners from the album “The Lost Get Found” which is an album that resides permanently in my collection (although I hasten to add I am not the target market!) With a couple of albums following, in 2012 she signed to Capitol Records and released her album “Gold”. This was to become a cross-over album to also be re-released to mainstream audiences in 2013 after the track “Gold” was released as a single to mainstream.
So it’s been a 5 year wait for her Christian and mainstream fans, and that’s a long time in the music industry. Of course some people can come back with no differences and people will buy the album with nostalgic hope, but other people are able to reinvent their sound and it seems like they have never been away. I am pleased to report that Britt Nicole has managed to come back sounding exactly right for the modern listener. It’s a great balance of heavy bass dance tunes with enough differences thrown in to make it feel totally relevant.
One thing that has changed slightly is the target audience, it’s still female, but it’s those who have grown up with Britt as the soundtrack to their teenage years who now find themselves as Wives and Mothers. Some of the same fears and doubts are there expressed through different tracks, but then there is definitely more about life and family and having kids. “Through Your Eyes” which opens this album expresses how God see’s us and how we need to learn to see ourselves that way. This will go some way to reassure some people that Britt is still aiming at the Christian market, because tracks like “All The Money” which is about love being more important that money and houses is a very mainstream track. Albeit with a positive message and a great sound, but there’s nothing that makes it stand out as Christian. The same could be said for “Fallin In Love” too which is a dance-based love song.
“Better” drops the dance beats and brings a track that really borrows from the topic of being an outcast that Britt has expressed before. This time though Britt is singing from a position that she has been through which is something she can now do being that little bit older. “Work Of Art” is a body-positive track which encourages girls and women not to compare themselves to the girls in magazines. Another positive and encouraging track that plays to both Christian and mainstream audiences is “Be The Change” which encourages the listener that if we want the world to change then we need to change it, one at a time to make a positive difference. This is a safe ground for both audiences, nothing offensive to anyone here, we can all get behind this message.
There are some strong tracks on the back half of the album particularly in the last 3 tracks of the standard release. Pulling back the dance feel is the incredibly raw “No Filter” which talks about the masks that we put on our lives, and particularly our relationships. What we show people in the outside world isn’t always what happens behind closed doors. The next track “Girls Night Out” changes the tone to something with a lot more of a sense of humour as we have the idea of exactly what the title suggests. This is a dance party track with a lot of laughs, especially when they order seven burgers and seven milkshakes to dip their fries in, which sounds disgusting – just as well because there are “no boys allowed!” The last track becomes almost a worship song, where Britt started off seeing how God see’s her, this final track is definitely about how she see’s God. To those of a Christian background it’s clear this is about God, but it’s never expressly mentioned – it could be a relationship with a guy. I do love this track though, it’s one of my favourites on the album!
There are 3 extra tracks on the deluxe edition that are actually very good tracks and I think there could be a couple of tracks that made the standard version that could have been replaced by these ones and made the proper album stronger.
I like this album, but I do feel it is a shame that it seems that the only way to get a bit of mainstream success is to remove all mention of God and make tracks that could be read differently depending on your point of belief. There are some great positive tracks with great lyrics and Britt has a fantastic voice which still sounds like when she first came onto the scene, and yet at the same time the tracks and themes are much more mature than before.
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