After being thoroughly impressed with Ingrid Michaelson’s last album Lights Out, I wasn’t expecting to like It Doesn’t Have to Make Sense as much… But wow, did it ever kick my expectations over the moon! It is better in every way, with more grace, maturity, and depth. Following the loss of her mother, there’s a level of emotion and vulnerability in her writing this time around that isn’t present to the same extent in her previous albums. She also pushes the sonics of her music further than before, while managing to keep it accessible to mainstream listeners.
If you’re like me, you’re sick of hearing people sing nothing but love songs. There’s so much more to life than romance that artists can use to connect with audiences, and ignoring the other parts of life shows a lack of maturity. Michaelson certainly doesn’t have that problem. She takes inspiration from everything, and she doesn’t translate that into something romantic when it isn’t.
With my Audeze El-8 and the album in flac, the opening track “Light Me Up” is more of an experience than a regular song. With its resonant piano, steady percussion, and Michaelson’s echoing voice weaving through… I nearly sobbed at the emotion and sound that builds up in it. She’s asking for inspiration and passion, and that’s what she gives us. And that’s just the beginning.
“Miss America” is irrepressibly upbeat and catchy, with it’s tech-y vibe. It holds back enough at the beginning to give itself space to grow into an empowered end, leaving it stuck in my head even a week later.
The musical style in “Another Life” is remarkably refreshing, recalling a different century with its harmonic choruses and uncommon chord progressions.
“I Remember Her” is about Michaelson’s late mother. It’s slow and simple, and full of hurt, emphasized by Michaelson’s high notes, and longing in her low notes.
Shifting to a lighter mood, “Hell No” is a fun break-up song that’s very catchy. It’s followed by the equally light and upbeat, makes-me-wanna-dance “Still the One”.
If you haven’t heard this album yet, I can’t recommend it highly enough. You’ll find a good balance between faster and slower songs, different moods and lyrical themes, as well as different sounds in the actual style of the music. Is there anything she can improve on? Probably. The sadder songs don’t quite break my heart as much as the happier songs uplift me, but that’s a very minor and subjective thing to pick on. Michaelson does more experimentation with her sound in this album, and that creativity is incredibly successful. It doesn’t lose its authenticity, either. You can still feel the same Ingrid Michaelson heart in it, so old fans have nothing to worry about. This is her best album yet. She’s grown so much as an artist and I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next!
Music is subjective so I’m hesitant to give it a number score, however, for those of you wondering, I’m going to rate it:
She’s also been added to my list of people to see live, which currently looks like:
Florence and the Machine
Of Monsters and MenVanessa Carlton (got tickets in March!)
Tegan and Sara
Michelle Branch (er… you know… if she ever gets to release a new album and go on tour)