Review Corner: Ingrid Michaelson’s Lights Out

(Source: Cabin 24 and Mom + Pop Music)
(Source: Cabin 24 and Mom + Pop Music)

Ingrid Michaelson’s Lights Out is not your average pop album. If you are of the belief that there’s no talent left in the pop genre, this would be one of my top three arguments against it. I just jumped into Ingrid’s body of work and it’s admirable how much music she’s returned to a genre dominated by bells, whistles and special effects. This is how you do music.

Lights Out is considered indie pop, but I prefer to call it professional pop or simply put, well crafted music. Nowadays, we can almost sum up the album by the first (and sometimes only) single, but if you only listen “Girls Chase Boys” you’ll be squandering the rest of joyful melodies contained in Ingrid’s latest offering. As a matter of fact, I don’t even consider it the strongest track in there. I’m going to highlight a few tracks and try not to go through the whole album.

“Home” starts up the album with setting a safe place to start, somewhere between pop and indie rock. I love how the strings are at the center of the music here. “Wonderful Unknown” is slower but powerful, like the deep rhythm of a sea with a current that slowly but strongly takes you along. Impossible to resist, this track features lyrics from Greg Aswell. This song also happens to be one of Taylor Swift’s favorites.

“Warpath” is a rock song, with some shades of pop but a stronger beat ending walking a sassy line between the two genres. “Time Machine” is another memorable favorite that has aspects of americana and folk before revealing a strong chorus that reminded me a little of the Band Perry’s current stomp-heavy songs. “One Night Town” returns to more classic pop and it has enough pep on it along with featured pop singer Mat Kearney to be heard on the radio. It’s friendly, it’s cute but it’s a bit too safe.

Instead there’s a lot more heart in the ballad “Open Hands” featuring Trent Dobbs and a strong piano-centered melody. Same with “Ready To Lose” also with Trent Dobbs although it’s slow tempo makes it a little less persuasive and more reflective, kind of a more tame but no less good flavor.

“Afterlife” comes in as the 12th track of the album, which is a shame because this one is my current favorite track of the album. If you buy entire albums you know how hard is to ever have a strong song located two tracks from the album’s finale. It has a strong, persistent beat and more shades of both indie, pop and some modern folk. It’s also a song that I’ve realized that gets stuck in my memory long after it’s done playing. Make this one a single, Ingrid. Please.

A Great Big World collaborates with Ingrid on the piano ballad “Over You” that also includes violins. Pop music, take note, you can use violins. Real ones. Marching drums come at the end of the song and you’ll wonder who put this track so close to the end of the album. “Everyone Is Gonna Love Me Now” ends the album in a high lyrical note, a fitting end that could easily be part of a movie soundtrack.

Besides the ten tracks I’ve highlighted, you should really listen to the entire thing. This is one of the albums that is worth more than the price. You can get it on iTunes.

You can find out more about Ingrid Michaelson at her official site.

Coming up on the Calendar!

  • May 18: The 2014 Billboard Music Awards air live  on May 18 on ABC at 8pm ET.
  • May 30: The RED Tour in Shanghai, China at Mercedes-Benz Arena. More information.
  • June 1: The RED Tour in Tokyo, Japan at Saitama Super Arena. Tickets on sale March 29. More Information.
  • June 4: The 2014 CMT Music Awards.
  • June 4: The RED Tour in Jakarta, Indonesia at MEIS (Mata Elang International Stadium). Tickets on sale February 24. More Information.

(Sources: iTunes)