Tuesday, April 15, 2014

What's Ingrid Michaelson been up to, then?

Pop's very own Tina Fey, Ingrid Michaelson, shoved her new album Lights Out onto iTunes last night, and instantly jumped to number 2 in the US chart. Simultaneously, she also uploaded the entire record to YouTube, which is pretty generous for an artist who releases all of her music independently. I say generous. I might mean foolhardy. It's hard to tell.

In the US they categorise Ingrid as "adult contemporary", which is a backhanded way of saying "boring". But that's grossly unfair. She makes smart, literate, catchy pop - and, while she's been guilty of overdoing the ukulele in the past - Lights Out is her most adventurous album to date.

Critics have deployed words like "experimental" and "fierce" and, almost inevitably, "Kate Bush" (she's a woman, you see). And they're not wrong. Everything about this record obliterates the memory of her garishly twee self-help anthem Be OK.

Here's why...

Ingrid tragically lost her voice during the recording process last year. "My whole throat was on fire for a few months," she told The Beacham. "I don't think I've lost part of my voice, but my voice has somewhat changed."

More importantly, the fear of not being able to sing pushed Ingrid's writing down some darker paths. Take, for example, the haunting, spine-tingling Handsome Hands. It's the sound of Bjork singing to us from the afterlife.

Ingrid Michaelson - Lights Out

Also worth a look is the video for lead single, Girls Chase Boys, in which Ingrid takes Robert Palmer's famous(ly sexist) video for Addicted To Love and flips the gender roles. The song's not bad, either.

Ingrid Michaelson - Girls Chase Boys

Lights Out isn't appearing on the UK iTunes yet, but you can order the CD off Amazon today, or just put that YouTube playlist on repeat.

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