I’m ashamed to say I’m only now listening to Ingrid Michaelson. My oh my have I been missing out. With her latest album, Lights Out, only a day away from being released, I was happy to receive the opportunity to listen and review her music. Good timing because I’m in the mood for some new music that’s not really mainstream and more original. Let’s see if Lights Out delivers.
The album kicks off with a upbeat tone with Home. Ingrid has these melodic yet mellow ranges at start, then the energy picks up more by the hook and continues to electrify to the end. Home is a beautiful recording about where the heart feels safe and comforted where there’s nowhere else to find that peace. You definitely get the feeling of stability throughout the song. Like I can relate with her emotions in being relaxed in the place she’s most secure because we all know there’s no where better than home and that message is well-representative in this track. I love it. Great start!
Okay. I just laughed at myself, and really hard too. Not even by the viral and how she twisted around a classic music video, but more so because I had no idea this groovy and addictive number, Girls Chase Boys, was performed by Ingrid Michaelson, because like I’ve mentioned prior, I’m a bit late on learning about the artist and her oh so catchy tracks. When you take the giggles away, there is of course something substantial within the words of the song. It’s about love and how everybody seeks it. It’s also conveying the message that love isn’t restricted. It’s for every race, orientation, etc. My absolute favorite track on the album because It’s basically the song that introduced me to Ingrid Michaelson.
Ooh, love the heavy toms that opens up the down-tempo Wonderful Unknown. There’s an old school vibe within her sound that I like. I find her music refreshing, authentic. Greg Laswell’s appearance on the track is skin-tingling. His deep vocals compliment her smooth tones. They’re entangled in this air of love and it makes you want to enter just to get close enough to feel, even touch what it is they’re experiencing. Beautiful isn’t the word for this song.
The tempo takes off again in You Got Me. This isn’t a bad song, but I kind of backed away from it when Storyman’s verse came in. My energy sort of floated away. Thankfully, he lowered his pitch for the hook and Ingrid was able to take over again. I don’t think it was necessary for the male appearance because in my opinion, it sounded more like a solid single before he jumped in. Still, it’s a good song to groove along with. It’s fun and upbeat and you won’t get bored, but I feel it shouldn’t have been a duet attempt, and it would have ended up a favorite had it been just her singing ’cause she has such an hypnotic voice that I don’t mind listening to.
When I saw the title Warpath. I was like, “humph, this is going to be fierce.” And indeed it is. This song has all the right elements to appeal to lovers of rock, pop, and a little bit of gritty country. It has that edginess that I like about energy driven tracks. It’s a short song, but it’s definitely sexy and spicy. I’m getting the sense that Ingrid feels tired of the power this guy has over her emotions. Like in the line “got me rooted in the ground like an old oak tree..” sounds to me like her love runs deep and she’s either trying to shake the hold he has on her, or really really enjoying it.
Handsome Man takes it down a notch, but still worth a good listen because the words are thought-provoking, and the music is haunting. I feel it to my bones. There’s this darkness being depicted with the overall production and it more or less represents her situation and experience with a particular relationship. There’s so much passion in her singing it’s indescribable. This is one of the best tracks I’ve heard so far. Not that the previous ones were low production, it’s just that Handsome Man literally cries out to my heart in a way the others haven’t. Everyone has that one song they attach themselves to more, and this song, this one track is that song for me.
Like Warpath, Time Machine has a fiery and empowering aspect. Love the music breakdowns, from piano to guitar. The track’s on fire. Ingrid sure has a way to slow me down and tug at my hear then pick it up again and re-energize me after draining me out with her emotional numbers. Why Time Machine is my second absolute favorite and definitely a contender to become a single as well, is that even though it’s about going back to change a decision she made about a certain relationship and possibly doing the opposite, the song makes me want to get up and strut around town and go storming through bars. Yeah, that’s probably not her intention but that’s how much I’m feeling the track.
One Night Town is more of a modern, dance number. Mat Kearney joins the singer to spread the message of living in the moment and enjoying your life. Great song. May not be as solid and powerful as the ballad before, but there’s a message to be heard.
We plunge back to the emotional ballad with the sad number Open Hands. My gosh, Ingrid is murdering me with these emotional songs. I truly feel what she’s going through and want to bawl my eyes out for her. Her voice, when it takes off like that, it hits my heart deeply. The song gives me the impression she’s coping with loss, of love at least. She’s unable to hold on to someone who doesn’t want to stay. So beautiful yet so bittersweet.
Like the previous, Trent Dabbs rejoins the singer on Ready to Lose. And yet again, it’s another piano-filled ballad about being willing to lose it all except the one she loves. It doesn’t sound as painfully sad as Open Hands, still there’s so much intensity and truth within the words. Ingrid’s pouring her soul out in these songs that it’s hard not to attach yourself to them. I should add that I do enjoy the male vocals in the background, he compliments her range so flawlessly.
Thank God for Stick. I was about cried out over the sorrow. While its another bittersweet number, Stick is more uptempo and I’m highly impressed with the musical arrangement as well as with the harmonies. From what I’m getting from the song is that she’s wondering about her past love and if he remembers anything about her. If any part of her stayed with him regardless if someone else is in her place, or the fact that she’s also with someone else. Very realistic. The one word that stuck with me throughout the album so far is energy. So yes, Ingrid. The music at least is sticking to me.
I was surprised by Afterlife. At first I feared I’d end up not so much of a fan, but it picks up greatly and I can’t help but feel pleased by the overall presence of the track. I feel rather empowered. Like I can take on any and everything after hearing Ingrid say over and over “we’re gonna be all right, and we always got the fight in us.” It’s a song of survival. Love the choir towards the end and how it enforces strength, and emphasizes on the message within the lyrics.
A Great Big World on anything requires my ears. It’s like pure perfection that they’ve appeared on Over You with Ingrid. The song is so true to us as human beings. We tell ourselves we’re going to be finished with someone. That we’ll forget everything about them; their charms and all the wonderful things we loved about them. We feel if we say it enough then we’ll speak it to reality. Only, it doesn’t always work out that way because sometimes the love was too strong to simply forget or let go of. It really grabs at your heart when the track picks up even more from the bridge, then slows back down to only the piano at the end. Superb arrangement.
The album comes to an end (and I really don’t want it to) with Everyone is Gonna Love Me Now. I was unsure how she would conclude; if it would be with something upbeat and spunky, or slow tempo and balladry. I think it’s right there in between because the song starts out relaxed, and then explodes from the middle into this huge sound production that makes me feel as if I’m watching and listening to her inside a masterpiece theater. Overall, it leaves me breathless. I’m utterly at a loss for words to really describe the effect the song has on me. It touches my core.
Final thoughts: Lights Out is peppered with noteworthy tracks that could turn out to be great singles if selected. That to me is rare for most albums releasing these days because not a lot of artists experiment and branch out of the norm. Hence, why Ingrid Michaelson’s music is easy to flock to because she brings something new and out of the ordinary. Music is about being creative and versatile with the way you express your sound and what you’d like for people to hear when they play your songs. Lights Out is such an album that embodies all that and more.
Release date: April 15th 2014
Label: Cabin 24 Records Under Exclusive License to Mom + Pop Music
*This review is based on the opinion of the writer and does not reflect the views of EY as a whole.
What do you think of Ingrid Michaelson’s latest album?
Credits: Ingrid’s FB + YouTube