I am taking this opportunity to declare my undying love for Imogen Heap. She is sweet, charming, energetic, and young (in spite of being over 30). I love everything about her – her perfect English accent, her over-the-top make-up, her disheveled hair styles, and her use of freaky accessories. She is the only artiste I can think of who would stream her entire soon-to-be-released album for her fans, all for free. Well I missed the streaming of album. I should follow her on twitter or facebook more diligently. Anyway, as a mark of my love I am going to review her debut album i-Megaphone (of course, it will be biased!). I will link some of the song titles to their videos on youtube. But not all the songs (I don’t think it is ethical to do so).
I heard i-Megaphone after Speak For Yourself (which is the second album) and I could only marvel at how different the two albums sound. i-Megaphone is a dark, gloomy album, in contrast to her oher albums. Despite several producers working on the album, it is seamless. The procession of songs from one to the next feels natural. Imogen displays her remarkable writing with every song and one can see the classically trained pianist in her in some of the tracks. To top it all there is Imogen’s dark, mesmerizing voice rendering the songs. The album comprises the following tracks.
Getting Scared – The album opens with this explosive song about school bullies. An unusual topic but Imogen Heap is one of the very few who can write such songs, and sing them so beautifully. Starting with minimal music and a slow, lazy tune, the song catches pace after the first chorus. The song succeeds in giving a few goosebumps with its theme of a troubled childhood and sweet revenge.
Sweet Religion – The amazing thing about Sweet Religion is the starting. Where violins could have been used, Imogen uses her voice, to good effect. The song starts with the gloomy line “When my body wants to go, tell me will my mind and soul live on and on forver?”. The hook is the wonderful part when the lyrics consist of perfect opposites but rhyming words (Begin end enemy friend heaven hell sick well/Truth lies husbands and wives, whisper shout in out in out/Laughter cry ask reply – good bad happy sad/Right wrong outcast belong, caged free you and me/ You have the answer to all of these).
Oh Me, Oh My – Are you a city dweller? Tired of rush hour traffic and the “crowds, the noisy crowds”. Is your life mechanical? Do you just do things because you have to? The song portrays the agony of lost love and busy life and the chorus is a prayer to God.
Shine – To fight all hardships and emerge a winner. This is the theme of Shine. It is about a day when nothing goes your way. And you still try to make this day yours. Like Imogen says “Trying to learn to swim without water. Trying just to begin just when you are in for the slaughter”.
Whatever – My personal favourite. A peppy number with energetic beats. Right from the beginning I cannot help but shake a leg to the music. The song revolves around the theme of a relationship going stale (I hate ya for/ For letting me fall for you./ Just like a fool/ And now I’m all psyching out/ ’cause all were about/ Is this ugly phone and it’s all I have/ To look forward to, yeah).
Angry Angel – Another big one! The song awakens the rebel in me. Angry Angel is about (As you might have guessed) breaking rules. The energetic, “rocky” chorus blows me away. “Over there stands my angry angel and hes shaking his head, in disgrace with me. Yeah over there stands my angry angel and hes frowning like hell, but I’m not feeling guilty”.
Candlelight – Do you like piano? I love piano… Especially if rendered by Imogen Heap. The amazing lyrics about lost love and loneliness cause a pang in my heart.
Rake It In – I wonder if Imogen Heap really was out to take revenge. Another song with the same theme. And darker than Getting Scared. Goosebumps sure to come. “Dry me out. Burn me up. Run me down. Rake it in.”
Come Here Boy – A dreamy seductive song with piano and electronics, and Imogen Heap’s soft voice calling you to “show you the slut I am”.
Useless – A heart-rending melody on being abused.
Sleep – A piano driven lullaby. But will just be wide awake in amazement at the sound.
A mix of the melodious, the pleasant and the scary. That is i-Megaphone in a nutshell.
Imogen Heap’s third album, “Ellipse”, is out now!!