We all know and love her as the irresistible voice behind last year’s Old Navy Sweater Campaign and if you were unaware, all of Ingrid Michaelson‘s songs are just as catchy and just as good as the ubiquitous “The Way I Am.” Michaelson is back with a new album, Be OK, featuring a collection of unreleased material, demos and live recordings. It’s a welcome release for anybody who caught her on tour and has been dying to have all those tracks in one spot.
Single “Be OK” is a bright, cheery ukulele tune made specifically for the Stand Up to Cancer organization. The studio version opens up the album and an acoustic version closes it out. Kind of a cool effect, but I must admit, that for a singer like Michaelson who already has mostly acoustic material, the acoustic rendition really isn’t that different from the original. It is almost silly to even have it because when you take out the bells, stomps and whistles, it has nothing on the original.
Now this is not the case on her cover songs. Michaelson’s versions of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and “Can’t Help Falling in Love” offer a new emotional depth that her voice just seems to naturally lend to whatever it is that she is singing. She caresses every word in such a way that you’ll find yourself getting lost in her every syllable.
If the covers aren’t enough of a testimony to her skill, the live recordings are sure to have listeners floored by her talent. Although there’s some crackling from a lessened production value, “The Chain” and “The Way I Am” sound just as good as any of her studio recordings. “The Chain” is one of Michaelson’s strongest songs. I love how simple the instrumental parts are on these songs, so that it is the voice that carries a majority of the melodic patterns. “The Chain” weaves a hypnotizing thread as Michaelson and her backing vocalists, one of which is her touring friend Allie Moss, sing a round that eventually merges into a unified a capella chorus.
This album is also great because it reflects Michaelson’s quirky sense of humor, which I feel was lost in some of the songs of her previous releases. But it is hard to hide an album like this, where you have trumpet impersonations on songs like “Lady in Spain,” or funny lyrics saying, “Let’s get rich and give everybody nice sweaters” and “Maybe I want to do what bunnies do with you, if you know what I mean” on “You and I.” Does anybody else notice how much Michaelson likes to give out sweaters?
Now, while she lets her humor shine through, she still has plenty of introspective and emotional personal songs like “Giving Up” and “Keep Breathing.” Both songs so naturally capture such true emotions: “I want to change the world, instead I sleep.” I think everybody has felt that loss of motivation. “Keep Breathing” is my favorite song that I have ever heard from Michaelson. It is pure genius when the drums, cello and the repeating of “All we can do is keep breathing” builds up until she has to break the cycle and take a deep breath before whispering, “now.” Excellent composition.
Ingrid Michaelson’s Be OK will be released on October 14th. I strongly suggest you buy this album because not only will you get quality music, but you’ll be supporting a great cause as a portion of the proceeds go to support the organization of Stand Up to Cancer.
01. Be OK
02. Giving Up
03. Over the Rainbow
04. The Chain (Live From Webster Hall)
05. Lady in Spain
06. Keep Breathing
07. Oh What a Day
08. The Way I Am (Live at WERS)
09. Can’t Help Falling In Love (Live at Daytrotter)
10. You And I
11. Be OK (acoustic)
Ingrid Michaelson: website | myspace | interview
Written by: Bethany
Filed under: album reviews | Tagged: album review, Allie Moss, bethany, ingrid michaelson, stand up to cancer | 1 Comment »