Emeli Sandé – OUR VERSION OF EVENTS
By: Forrest Robinson
There are some artists that literally just come out with a truly EXPLOSIVE presence. For certain, Scottish-born EMELI SANDE is one such artist. There are SO MANY things I love about her debut album, “OUR VERSION OF EVENTS”. There truly isn’t one bad song on the entire album. The production is amazing. The arrangements and orchestrations are rich. Each track sounds like was given the most focused attention in order for the music to truly breathe and have a fullness of identity. Of course, Sande’s voice is one of the most amazing I have heard in a very long time. Such energy. Such youth. Such STRENGTH. She doesn’t overly occupy the musical space with frivolous runs and ad-libs. The voice and the music all culminate into beautiful colors and moods, summing up to this glorious body of recorded work.
Oh, and FELLAS – we can listen to this beautiful music and passionate vocals without getting beat up by the lyrics! Emeli does lay it out there now. She is a strong woman. But she is a strong woman who dares to sing about LOVE. What do you think about THAT? Let’s get to the music:
This record opens in an epic way! “Heaven” grabbed my attention right at the intro. The orchestral background (live or sampled), Emeli’s vocals – youthful and strong – the epic choir chorus harmonies, even the 80s breakbeat mixed in with more modern programming was a major SCORE. It just builds. This song is a hit, I tell you! An epic HIT!! Emeli is not afraid to declare love on the next track, “My Kind Of Love”. She really puts her heart into the lyrics.
As I listened to “Where I Sleep” for the first time, I honestly waited for the other shoe to drop. I mean, her lyrics: “This is us, and this is love, and this is where I sleep” had me in a mild state of disbelief. No one got dissed in this song! And it’s a beautiful song from start to finish! “Mountains” is another personal favorite track on the record. The music is so beautiful. Both Emeli’s voice and the music are a dynamic match. This song begins soft, but intense. And the whole track develops into one long crescendo! The arrangement with the lush strings, choir, piano, key bass, and drum programming is GORGEOUS!
The next track, “Clown” is a bit of a torch ballad. It’s a very intimate track that begins with the piano and voice, and builds with the strings. Her vocals paint a clear and beautiful picture of vulnerability and honesty. “Daddy” is a wicked track with a slick vibe. I call it the “’James Bond’ film soundtrack song” – haha. The production is very nice. The way it fuses pop, hip-hop, and cinematic strings is really cool. It is impossible for Emeli’s vocal performance and the overall vocal arrangement to go unnoticed. The laid back mood set at the intro of “Maybe” pulls you into Emeli’s world of love and honesty in a relationship that can sometimes become troubled. There is hope, but there is also a time where two people must decide if it’s really worth taking that next step together.
“Suitcase” is a perfect example that Blues is not based on a mere chord progression. This song may sound a bit Pop, but trust me when I say that this song is THE Blues track on this record. The Blues resides in the lyrics of this song, and the music backs up the lyrics in stellar fashion. “Breaking The Law” is one of the most eloquently written guitar/vocal ballads I’ve heard in recent years. The vocal harmonies are very sweet as well. This song displays Emeli Sandé’s brilliance as a vocalist as well as a lyricist. This young woman is a poet. And I don’t know if “Next To Me” was meant to be a country track, but as “Suitcase” was the blues track on this record, “Next To Me” is in my opinion, the Country track. It pleasantly reminds me of Dolly Parton’s more contemporary compositions. The cool thing is that Emeli Sandé maintains her own identity and style! This is great work! This is an album of beautiful love songs.
“River” is one of the most beautifully written love songs I’ve heard in quite some time. Lyrically, Emeli paints a picture that we haven’t often heard in contemporary Urban or Pop genre releases of recent years. That picture is one of love, acceptance, and a woman who is there to let the other person know that she will love and also lead that person through turbulent times in order for that love to prevail. “Lifetime” is one of the sweeter, more poppy tracks on this record, which also brings an impressive balance to the overall vibe this record presents. The lyrics describe Emeli as someone who really does hold on to a hope and expectation that this world and this life can really be beautiful. The evidence resides in the lyrics of “Hope”. Hearing her repeat, “I just hope I’m not the only one” gives me personal hope, if only in knowing that I am not alone in hoping for a beauty that really can exist in the world. “Read All About It (Pt. III)” is a very strong finish to a very powerful record. Lyrically, I experienced this song as Emeli standing tall and honest in addressing the other person, as well as the individual within. It is obvious that Emeli’s songwriting sessions were not just about writing a quick radio or club hit. She and her team set out to write music that would be remembered for generations to come.
OUR VERSION OF EVENTS is an album that deserves substantial respect and attention. I hope that it will receive just that. This is one of the best albums that will be released in 2012. I truly hope that it will receive the attention it needs in order for the world to enjoy it!
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