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Review: Lights Out, by Ingrid Michaelson

Lights Out, by Ingrid Michaelson

Rating:
Star5
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Ingrid Michaelson has been surfing under the radar most of her career. Her 2007 single "The Way I Am" is currently her highest-charting single in the US. It benefited from its use on Grey's Anatomy and Old Navy commercials. Ingrid's tracks have also been on One Tree Hill, Army Wives, Ugly Betty and Parenthood.

Ingrid Michaelson
Ingrid Michaelson Cabin 24 Records, Mom+Pop Music

Her last album, Human Again, is her highest-charting album in the US to date. It peaked at #5 on the Billboard 200 and #1 on iTunes. Its follow-up, Lights Out, is out now. Read the track by track review below.

Home: Is a summery track which jump-starts Lights Out, perfectly. "Home" is full of sensitive vocals and earnest emoting. The bridge prior to the chorus erupting as the song ends, and the vocals from then on are full of Ingrid charisma and quirk.

Girls Chase Boys: The first official single bounces from line to line with lively instrumentals and catchy bridge and chorus. The music video, an homage to Robert Palmer's "Simply Irresistible", is an amalgam of men and women in make-up and wearing the same colorful outfits as they dance seductively. This frame-by-frame video plays off androgyny when it comes to the objectifying bodies in music videos, but also the song's lyrics. "All the broken hearts in the world still beat/ Let's not make it harder than it has to be/ It's the same thing/ Girls chase boys chase girls."

Wonderful Unknown: This track features Greg Laswell, who has previously collaborated with Sara Bareilles. It is a slower paced track. This story of not knowing what will come next and enjoying the smaller pleasures is a sweet and soothing musical ride. The black and white lyric video, captured and edited by Ingrid, adds a level of simplicity as she walks through Brooklyn.

You Got Me: This is the second feature, including Storyman. The banjo instrumental makes this funky as it slowly evolves into a more danceable radio-friendly romp. The two voices blend well. The track is just one of those which works on all levels. It has radio-VH1-Ingrid written all over it.

Warpath: The clapping introduction with the acapella vocals works really well. This track, which has a little more oomph, is an ode to the aggravation of relationships. "Baby, you drive me so crazy/ Baby you drive me so mad/ You've got me running 'round like a woman on a warpath."

Handsome Hands: Ingrid's voice presents itself with the tendency to work in so many different venues. This weirdly unique track is proof of that. There is something dreamy and ethereal about it. The poetic lyrics wonder about love, contact and one's ability to be without another.

Time Machine: This is another upbeat track with fantastic instrumentals. The story behind this is regretting a relationship with someone who was not worth the anguish. "If I had a time machine/ And if life was a movie scene/ I'd rewind and I'd tell me/ 'Ru-uu-uu-uun'."

One Night Town: This one features Mat Kearney, of "Nothing Left To Lose" fame. The track is catchy and as it is expected from both artists, it is radio-ready.

Open Hands: This is the first of two Trent Dabbs features. This is no surprise, as this Nashville-based writer has also worked with Mat Kearney. Trent has been enjoying a successful run on the television series, Nashville, for which he has written and composed tracks like "Undermine" and "Shine". This is a sadder track about departure and a relationship coming to an end. Ingrid's vocals shine through each line.

Ready to Lose: This is the second Trent Dabbs feature. This follows the emotion from the previous track. These two tracks are piano-driven, and accentuate the vocals. "Is the heart in you?/ I know it in my bones/ It made me change direction/ When I felt better off the road."

Stick: This picks up the speed with stronger beats. It is busier, so the vocals compete with the music, which makes the lyrics almost hidden. This does not affect the delivery, which is full of passion and strength.

Afterlife: This features A Great Big World, of "Say Something" fame with Christina Aguilera. The track is an ode to living in the moment, and thinking of ourselves as capable and happy. "We are the afterlife!"

Everyone Is Going To Love Me Now: Is a soothing ballad which wraps this lovely album nicely.

Other reviews:

Films: Kumu Hina : Southern Baptist Sissies : OFIR (documentary) : Ne Te Retourne Pas (short) : Halina (short) : EK (short) : Despite The Gods (documentary) : Materica (short) : Lawrence and Hollowman, the movie : No Strangers (documentary) : Meth Head, the movie : Echoes (short) : Titans of Newark (short) : A Cure (short) : Precious, the movie : This Is It (documentary)

Music: Kelis' Food : The Sounds' Weekend : Austra's Olympia : KENN's We Killed KENN : VV Brown's Samson & Delilah : Sammy Crawford's Reality Sets In : Melanie C's Stages : Madonna's MDNA : Nelly Furtado's Spirit Indestructible : CocoRosie's "We Are On Fire" : Stephan Nance's A Troubled Piece of Fruit

Videos: Christina Aguilera's "Your Body" : Lily Allen's "Hard Out Here" : Tom Goss' "It's All Over" : Eric Himan's "Dust" : Scissor Sisters' "Only The Horses"

Concerts: Ellie Goulding : The Sounds with Blondfire & Strange Talk : Natasha Bedingfield : Andy Grammer : Kate Voegele

Stand Up: Kevin J Thornton