Written by: Laura Chambers (3/30/2016)
Spring is the season of new beginnings. Baby animals take their first shaky steps into the unknown world; the earth is renewed with melting of snow and rain showers; children grow one year older; and you finally clean out that closet you promised you’d get to last year. It therefore seems fitting that a group that’s moving on to their next iteration would choose this time of year to release their second full album.
The band formerly known as 1 Girl Nation has undergone changes in the past three years. They’ve gone from 5 members to 3 and changed their name to 1GN. Yet their mission hasn’t changed; if anything, it’s crystallized. 1GN desires to merge a popular sound with a powerful message that runs counter to the lies the world speaks with the same genre of music. Unite draws together its listeners with a common message of celebration that dares us to go beyond the vapid and consider deep, life-changing issues in 3 ½ minutes or less. (It can be done.)
“Get Hype” appears to be an introduction to their new iteration. Not exactly the message focus I promised, though it is a fun dance track that you won’t have to bleep out half the words to. “The One” is more along the lines of what I had in mind. Instead of encouraging girls to give their heart to a succession of men in order to fill the empty places in their hearts, this song reminds us that people were never meant to fill us. God should be our “first love”; by choosing Him first, we can put our other relationships in the right perspective. “Cinema” migrates from the dreamy imaginings of a would-be starlet to something more; questions about what role God plays in the story of our lives. Would He be a significant part or would we leave His influence on the cutting room floor, never to be seen? Our goal should always be to glorify God in every action taken and word spoken.
“Guard Your Heart” encourages listeners to ignore the mixed messages the world sends us and hold fast to God’s truth instead. Rather than coming from a place of judgement, the song makes a point of empathizing with the ones they’re addressing. The bridge makes it clear that the intention is not to preclude the possibility of opening your heart to other people, but rather to protect against negative influences and lies.
I’m not saying to build a wall
Just to trust that God won’t let you fall
I’m not saying to build a wall
Just to trust that God’s in control of it all
“#NoFilter” uses the popular hashtag phrase to promote personal transparency. It’s so easy to fall into the trap of always wanting to show your best side to everyone who’s watching. IGN encourages us to see our imperfections as glorious testimony to God’s work in our lives. “Haters” goes one step further than Taylor Swift does in “Shake It Off”; beyond disregarding hurtful comments, we should love those who throw them at us. By returning good for evil, we may be able to change the hearts of our haters (I just realized that those two words are anagrams of each other. Like, literally this second.) In a final word of reassurance, the song finishes by reminding us to be ourselves and recalling that Jesus was hated. By this we know that He understands what we’re going through.
“Panic” calms the tempo a bit, with a fervent prayer for courage. Fear, though it may be the go-to reaction when circumstances are out of our control, doesn’t have to consume us. We need only remember God’s promises and listen for His voice. A subtle undercurrent of tension runs through this track. “Impossible” asks us to take our self-imposed limitations off of God and believe that anything can happen when He’s a part of our dreams. We don’t have to be discouraged because God is more powerful than we can imagine. “Smile” is a cheerful romp that promotes rejoicing publicly, as those who see you will want to know what makes you jubilant enough to do so. After all, we are supposed to be extensions of Jesus on Earth. Instead of hiding as though we’re ashamed of His name, we should proclaim it everywhere, in everything. Lastly, “Unite” brings it and us all together, spreading a message of acceptance and love that flies in the face of the prejudice and fear that’s so rampant in our world. By changing our attitudes and coming together, we can impact the opinions of others.
While it’s clear that this album was intended for the younger female crowd, the message of Unite applies to everyone. 1GN has crafted an album that, while not ground-breaking, delivers positive, counter-cultural words of wisdom that, in time, have the power to effect change on a larger scale. The girls who spin 1GN today are the change agents of our future. Let’s pour as much truth into their hearts as possible.
Released: April 15, 2016
Label: Reunion Records
- Get Hype (3:16)
- The One (3:05)
- Cinema (3:01)
- Guard Your Heart (3:22)
- #NoFilter (3:04)
- Haters (2:51)
- Panic (3:12)
- Impossible (2:56)
- Smile (2:40)
- Unite (3:20)
10 tracks, 30:51
Buy on iTunes
More from Artist:
- 1 Girl Nation (2013)
- A Very 1 Girl Nation Christmas (2014)
- Unite (2016) [As 1GN]
Links for Artist: