This Tuesday, the Brits are on again! I know, this year might not be a vintage year, what with Olly Murs *gag* already confirmed to be performing, but so is Adele, so you never know.
Anyway, every year at the Brits, they always have the Critics Choice award and present to this most promising newcomer. Previous winners include Jessie J, Florence + the Machine and Adele Herself. This yea, they picked Emeli Sandé who has already released three singles and now has a number one album to her name. Brit Awards people, I think you need a new definition of “newcomer”.
Still, she’s managed to get the thumbs up from the Brits, who are generally pretty reliable, if slightly too obsessed with Robbie Williams and Annie Lennox. And her singles have all proved she has a beautiful voice. Thus I came to her debut with high hopes.
So far she’s released “Heaven“, which was a big hit last year, last week’s number 2 “Next to Me“, and the number 22 “smash” “Daddy“. As has been pointed out in every single review, “Heaven” is very much the black sheep of the album. It sounds an awful lot like Massive Attack, whereas the rest of the album has more of a Leona Lewis meets Adele vibe. Obviously, this means different things to different people, but I have absolutely no problem with it.
“Daddy” and “Next to Me” are much more indicative of the sounds of the rest of the album, and are both REALLY good. I can only guess “Daddy” flopped because the title made people think it would just be her whining on about her Dad for 4 minutes. I can confirm this is NOT the case, the “Daddy” of the title is a metaphor. Phew. “Next to Me”, meanwhile is just flat out amazing.
As for the rest of the album, expect soul-y ballads. “My Kind of Love” is lovely and it really does sound like it could be Leona at times. “Where I Sleep” is beautiful and put me in mind of a music box for some reason. Then there’s the much more sombre and heartfelt tracks like “Mountains” and “Suitcase”, plus “Breaking the Law” which seems to be about how many crimes she’d do for her boyfriend. Mental, yet amazing.
It’s not all good though. “Clown” tends to slip into mawkishness a bit too often, whilst at the end of the album, the effect of so many ballads means that they do tend to start sounding a bit same-y unless they can really grab your attention with their awesomeness. Unfortunately “River” and “Hope” really don’t.
But the whole album is wrapped up by one of those “Part 2” versions that lots of singer have doing recently. After singing the chorus of a rap song, the singer will then do their own version where they sing the verses too (see “Love the Way You Lie” or “Empire State of Mind”). Here, Emeli sings the whole of “Read All About It” the song she did with Kali-from-Mongrels-soundalike Professor Green. Inevitably, without him yelling over the rest of it, it’s very lovely. Although, I don’t know why it’s called “Read All About It (Part 3)” since for the life of me, I can’t find a part 2. Weird.
So, all in all, very enjoyable. Although, as with Dames Leona and Adele, you can’t help but feel this debut isn’t giving *quite* everything that it could be. But we can probably expect big things in the future.
BEST 3 SONGS: “Next To Me”, “Daddy”, “Where I Sleep”