STYLE: Pop RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 134303-20553 LABEL: Sparrow 5099972316122 FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1 RELEASE DATE: 2013-02-26 RRP: £1.99
Reviewed by Lins Honeyman
US singer/songwriter Britt Nicole's third studio album - now repackaged with bizarrely no extra tracks other than remixed versions of its first two numbers - has registered on the Billboard 200 as well as numerous other charts and it's easy to see why. Whilst the sunny girl next door nature of its revamped artwork might suggest a release full of bubble gum pop songs, Nicole defies first impressions by offering up a piece of work that is inherently poppy but has an inventive streak that no doubt comes from having the likes of renowned producers David Garcia and Dan Muckala in the driving seat. In a collection where every song is very nearly as strong as the other, the likes of the Garcia-produced title track and the dance-tinged powerhouse of "Breakthrough" simply shine and typify an album that showcases Nicole's generically positive lyrics and a powerful vocal performance to boot. Nicole tackles issues such as fear and hope in "Stand" and "The Sun Is Rising" respectively whilst the upbeat "Amazing Life" subliminally praises creation in a way that won't get in the way of the track becoming a mainstream hit. A duet with Christian hip hop artist Lecrae on "Ready Or Not" is the icing on the cake of a technically brilliant album that all but mentions the name of Jesus.
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Produced by Britt's longtime collaborator Dan Muckala along with producers Chris Stevens, David Garcia and Josh Crosby, Gold merges her passionately thoughtful lyrics with infectious beats and soaring melodies. Also showcasing her masterful vocals and remarkable range, Gold has no shortage of songs that match the tender intensity of its title track. The sweeping, slow-building All This Time, for instance, recounts Britt's struggle to overcome the pain of her parents' divorce, while Stand blends high-powered beats with sweetly inspirational lyrics about rediscovering your strength. On Ready or Not (an ode to self-expression and "just bringing love to people and not holding back who I am," according to Britt), sunny acoustic strumming gets elegantly layered over stomping rhythms and in-your-face electro effects. And with its throbbing groove, sleek synth, and celebratory lyrics, Amazing Life fast proves to be a dance-pop powerhouse.
Whether delivering a soulful ballad or a beat-soaked dance track, Britt strikes a stunning balance between vulnerability and self-assurance all throughout Gold. Not only evidence of her gift for crafting intensely relatable lyrics, that emotional complexity is a testament to her strength and honesty as a songwriter. "I write songs to myself," Britt shares. "It's always great to see them connect with other people who need to be reminded that worth doesn't come from having all the right things or from success - it's about being who you are."