Ingrid Michaelson – Human Again
At the very start of Human Again I’m struck by urgent sounding strings and piano…but before even a full minute into the song, a dance-like drumbeat joins in to make a sound that I’m not totally familiar with. Track two follows suit with guitar and drum tracks creating epic beats that echo. At this point I’m taking off my headphones and listening through the speakers because I’m not used to this. Am I hearing it right?
Ingrid Michaelson was right when she said fans of her cute voice and stripped down ukelele sound could be disappointed with this album. It’s big. It’s layered. A lot of it’s clearly computer generated. I can’t say that particular sound is my favorite, but I’m excited for the evolution.
Track 4, “I’m Through” [*below] seems to be the first song to really grab me. It’s mostly piano and vocals…and that’s when I start to think maybe I’m actually one of those disappointed fans who misses stripped-down Ingrid.
“Black and Blue” has a playful beat and gets me more intrigued for the second half of the album. Right away, “Ribbons” is a bit different than the rest, but maybe the most pop sounding so far. Then I’m pulled in by “How We Love” because of its sparseness [*listen below]. Ingrid’s beautiful lyrics soar over repetitive guitar plucking and not much else:
“We hate the rain when it fills up our shoes
but how we love when it washes our cars
we love to love when it fills up the room
but when it leaves oh we’re cursing the stars”
But then it’s back to poppy beats and repeating, call and response vocals on “Palm Of You Hand” – probably the one track I’ll be sure to skip over on my next listen. I’ve grown fond of track 10, the single “Ghost”…I think she really comes off as honest and open on this particular song [*great live version below].
Track 12, “Keep Warm”, surprises me by joining the lush, produced sound with a simpler sounding melody…I feel like this middle of the road approach is incredibly successful and this might be my favorite track on the album [*check out the tune below]. “End Of World” (fittingly) ends the album but unfortunately this is another track I’d probably not revisit…I don’t care for the harsh, high pitched vocals.
All in all this album seems to be sort of a mixed back sonically. I’ll have to listen more, but initially, the less produced tracks are more appealing to me. But I do always appreciate an artist taking chances and experimenting…pushing themselves and their music to different places…out of the comfort zone. That’s when the magic can really happen.
“How We Love”
Tune in to hear this album in its entirety,
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