The Christian Herald reports: “Each member of 1 Girl Nation had been pursuing separate musical careers when they heard about a unique opportunity to audition for a faith-based, all-female pop group”. Lauryn Taylor Bach is from Alabama. Kelsey Sowards is from Chicago and has a degree in music education. Carmen Justice grew up in the Nashville area and attended Belmont University. Lindsey Ciresi is a pastor’s kid from Florida. Kayli Robinson grew up on military bases all over the world, as her father was in the Air Force. She says: “The whole point of everything that we do is to bring more people into the Kingdom of Christ”. The girls list Diane Sheets as their vocal coach. 1 Girl Nation’s debut album is self-titled and released in 2013 on Reunion Records.
The group’s contagious debut pop single ‘While We’re Young’ written by Jason Ingram, Chuck Butler, and Tony Wood, starts things off. It is a song of declaration: “We’re gonna go right when the world goes left/Cause we don’t wanna waste even one of these days/We’re gonna save ourselves the heartache/We’re not looking back on what we wished we’d done/We’re gonna risk it all for one thing/And live for Jesus while we’re young”. ‘Vertical’ is a fast-paced dance track that reveals these five gals are on a clear mission: “All the broken, all the hopeless, strangers in need/They are with us, they are Jesus, all the least of these/Oh Lord, how we need Your strength to stand/Oh Lord, help us be your Your feet and hands/We’re going vertical, praying for miracles/Wanna see heaven here on earth/Lifting our hands up high, people of God unite/Together we can change this world”.
‘Live For You’ finds the group overcome with God’s goodness: “You make me light up just like matches/If only I could find the words to say/Can’t think, can’t speak when I feel Your grace/Cause You love me up to outer space/You really blow my mind like dynamite/And I’m always gonna live for You.../I’m like a work of art made in Your hands/Van Gogh couldn’t draw like You”. ‘In The Eyes’ is an effective ballad that could be addressed to those kids and teens who have been bullied: “You are treasured, you are beautiful/In the eyes, in the eyes of the One who made you/You are perfect/You’re worth more than you know/In the eyes, in the eyes of the One who made you/So you’re different, let them say you are/Cause you’re the vision of the Father’s heart”.
‘Count Your Rainbows’ was written by Lauryn Taylor Bach, Casey Brown, and Jonathan Smith. It is reminiscent of Taylor Swift’s pop material and encourages perseverance: “The hands that paint the sky and lift the sun to rise/Will keep on holding you close through every season/Mercy and morning light breaks through the darkest night/So keep believing no matter what you’re seeing/Ooooo, just remember/He’ll bring you brighter days”. The hip sounding ‘Love Like Crazy’ features Royal Tailor who were nominated for a Grammy for their debut album which released in 2011. This song shows a desire to go against society’s flow: “We are meant to burn bright, be a light/Illuminate the night sky/We gotta be the spark/Show the world who we are/And love like crazy/We gotta follow to lead/Take a stand on our knees/And love like crazy/We’re gonna let it shine/We wanna live like Christ/We gotta be the spark”.
‘Turn Around’ reminds us that no matter how bad we’ve screwed up in the past God offers us a bright future with a clean slate: “You’re never too far from a brand new start/You can turn around, turn around/Cause where you have been isn’t who you are/You can turn around, turn around/You don’t have to stay down/He can lift you up now/Cause you’re never too far from a brand new start/You can turn around, turn around/Second chances are in His hands/He’ll forgive you even when you can’t”. ‘Invade’ packs a good one-two punch musically. The words put youthful exuberance on display: “There’s something in the air, something in the water/We can’t be quiet anymore/We are sons and daughters/You have given us a reason to jump and shout/Tell the world about how we’re sold out/No, we’re not afraid, we are outlaws/We will live on the edge, be a rebel/Oh, Your love, Your love, it has covered me/Gotta tell the world how to be free/We, we will invade this world for You/Spark a generation with the truth”.
‘Daddy’s Girl’ was penned by Keith Everette Smith (who also plays piano here), Jessica Campbell, and Jason Cox. Chris Carmichael is responsible for strings. This is a quiet song of deep gratitude for a loving, earthly father: “Ooh, one in a million and I got to be yours/Our souls are forever tied together/Through tears and all the laughter/You love me like no other/You say I’m the center of your whole wide world/I’ll always be my daddy’s girl/You danced me ‘cross the kitchen floor/And we’ll dance the day you give me away/You’re the first call when I need advice/You always know the right words to say”. Of the album’s title track, which interestingly ends things off, Lindsey says: “It’s our message. It encourages girls to stop all the gossiping and trash talk, but come together, be strong, and live for their faith. Come together as a 1 Girl Nation. Our message is unifying the generation that’s rising”. This power pop song includes these words: “Drama, drama, talking smack on the internet/Sister, she’s just like you/So don’t talk trash ‘cause you’ve been there too.../Come together as a one girl nation/Shout it to all creation/Jesus is our foundation/We stand strong, it’s a revolution”.
1 Girl Nation performed on the Secret Keeper Girl Crazy Hair Tour in six Ontario cities this November. These events targeted girls aged 8 to 12 and their mom’s. 1 Girl Nation’s music and message is smart, relevant, and contemporary. They don’t talk down to their audience. I highly recommend this album to those pop music lovers who value good, clean lyrics. Fans of Zoegirl and Everlife will love this album which I’m rating 90%. For more info visit: www.1girlnation.com and www.providentpress.com.