It’s been too long since I’ve posted on this site about music. That’s a tragedy that I will begin to rectify with this post.
Ingrid Michaelson is in my top 5 artists currently in top form. That is to say, I will buy an album, no questions asked, from iTunes the day it’s released. No downloads. The good stuff.
This album, Human Again, doesn’t disappoint. A natural stylistic evolution from albums past, this album is the first to come after her marriage to fellow true indie (aka NOT Lana Del Rey) singer/songwriter/loved-by-Dylan-person Greg Laswell (the musical dream team is alive!).
After such a happy occasion as marriage, like on Death Cab‘s Codes and Keys, the music and lyricism generally gets happier and more intimately crafted (see “Stay Young, Go Dancing” and “Portable Television”).
However, Michaelson seems to have pulled a reverse and kept evolving stylistically much like she had with the jump she made from Girls and Boys to Everybody. Michaelson’s lyrics, once as dark and twisty as her melodies were misleadingly peppy, have been matched with more epic, slightly darker string-and-guitar-heavy arrangements, and thusly have become less dark. While different from Everybody, it’s not a complete Codes & Keys shift. This is the album we expected and more. She hasn’t sacrificed the darkness, as evidenced by “Ribbons”, “Black and Blue” and “Fire”, three of the album’s best tracks, but “Palm Of Your Hand” indicates happier times.
In general, the album is harder and more abrasive than her previous stuff, but that’s not saying much. The opening of the album is a sweeping movie-score-esque string aria, the intro to “Fire”, my favorite track on first listen.
She worked with Imogen Heap’s producer, and that definitely contributes to the bigger, more epic feel of the album. I’m quite intrigued to hear how she executes the complex arrangements live when I see her at the Wiltern in LA.
This is definitely worth a listen.