Michaelson takes fresh indie-pop direction on ‘Lights Out’

Native New Yorker Ingrid Michaelson crafts an original place for herself musically.  (Photo provided by josepvinaixa.com)
Native New Yorker Ingrid Michaelson crafts an original place for herself musically. (Photo provided by josepvinaixa.com)

In 2005, Ingrid Michaelson released a debut, self-released record titled “Slow The Rain.” Through MySpace, stints at local cafes in New York City and various small venues, the indie artist created a small following. However, in 2006 when Michaelson went on to release “Girls & Boys,” the one-time coffee shop singer experienced true fame. Her album charted on Billboard’s Top 100, and Michaelson began taking the music industry by storm.

As time went on, Michaelson released three more successful albums, and with each she grew. She developed into the indie-pop queen, gained new fans and a larger audience. Now, in 2014, Michaelson’s most recent release attempts to become her most prominent album.

“Lights Out,” Michaelson’s sixth studio album is an incredible collection of 14 original tracks. Together, these songs could make up one of this year’s most creative and inspiring albums yet. With each song, listeners will want more. As Michaelson fills audiences’ ears with her sweet voice, everyone will be drawn in.

The lead single, “Girls Chase Boys” is Michaelson’s “happy break-up song.” It’s an amusing, upbeat track with great crossover abilities. Like much of Michaelson’s music, “Girls Chase Boys” will be appealing to both fans of mainstream top 40 and indie genres. Its catchy tune, paired with Michaelson’s songbird of a voice, makes it nearly perfect.

Another upbeat track, titled “Time Machine,” is one of the album’s fiercest songs. With intense instrumentals and Michaelson’s amazing vocal runs, “Time Machine” has enough of a punch to knock out a full-grown man. It’s as though “Time Machine” got all of the relationship-ending irritation that was left out of “Girls Chase Boys,” and then some.

Then there is “One Night Town.” The song, featuring Mat Kearney, is another track with terrific crossover capabilities. Optimistic and confident, “One Night Town” is a carefree song with a lot of promise. So many artists sing about “living a little,” but no one does it quite like Michaelson.

“Wonderful Unknown,” which features Greg Laswell, Michaelson’s husband, is another track that deserves mention. This simplistic and soft track is beautiful. Like OneRepublic and Sara Bareilles, “Come Home” this soothing and comforting track is a must. With its inclusion, “Wonderful Unknown” creates a nice contrast to some of the album’s more outgoing tracks.

Similar in style to one of Michaelson’s previous tracks, “In The Sea,” “Warpath” is one of the record’s darker tracks. Using repetition of lyrics, sounds, and claps, “Warpath” is a track that sounds as though it is spiraling out of control in the best ways.

Next, there is “Handsome Hands.” On this track Michaelson seems to borrow from artists like Florence and The Machine and Lana Del Rey to build a track that will engulf listeners in a world built from mournful vocals and dreadful instrumentals. “Handsome Hands” is a dark and haunting track that will seep, rather than float, into listeners’ ears.

Perhaps the greatest track on “Lights Out” is “Afterlife.” With an anthem-like structure and Michaelson’s vocals at their best, this powerful track is a track that could be compared to Fun’s “We Are Young.” It’s enlightening and seems to reach for horizons far away.

While she has maintained her classic originality and style, Michaelson has also developed artistically. With other featured artists like A Great Big World, Storyman, and Trent Dabbs, Michaelson heads in new directions. Ultimately, each song builds on the next. When looking back at past works, old fans will be pleased to hear that she maintains a similar style, while also creating clever new music that will change the current musical landscape.

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