February 1, 2023
Ithaca, NY | 23°F


Review: Brighter tone lights up album

"Lights Out"

Ingrid Michaelson

Ingrid Michaelson, the singer-songwriter who earned her popularity through somber ballads, recently released a sassy album, “Lights Out,” that boasts powerful instrumentals, spunky lyrics and well-rounded vocals that may make listeners want to dance for some songs and ponder on others.

“Warpath” is a cheeky track that has lyrics reflecting the head-over-heels feeling of a relationship with its instrumental attitude: clapping hands, heavy drum beats, electric guitar and a high-pitched synthesizer. Michaelson’s multiple vocal layers produce an eerie, yet lively, sound. Some of these spirited lyrics include, “You put your spell on me/ You got me rooted in the ground like an old oak tree/ Aches so good, can’t you see?/ That you got the magic to set me free.” These lyrics tell a gritty story of a girl who has given a man too much control over her emotions, an experience that many listeners may understand.

Though she has changed her style from a slower, emotional style to a more aggressive and upbeat sound, Michaelson has held true to her patient ways in some songs. One exemplary track, “Over You,” features A Great Big World. Lyrics such as, “Over, I’m so over you/ The way that you held me/ When nobody else would,” and the chorus, “Maybe if I tell myself enough/ Maybe if I do/ I’ll get over you,” may make listeners who have been through a breakup connect well to the emotional track. Piano and strings make up the track’s instrumentation; the melody turns dramatic at times, but then changes into slow, somber chords. Michaelson and A Great Big World’s emotive voices create a harmonious sound that brings out the song’s sorrow.

“Lights Out” is a stylistic change for Michaelson, but a change for the best. Her new sound may result in a broader fan following and is a welcomed surprise for loyal listeners. With her soulful voice warming hearts and dazing minds, listeners may want to turn out the lights, turn up the music and immerse themselves in Michaelson’s latest triumph.

Ashley Wolf can be reached at awolf2@ithaca.edu or via Twitter: @@ashleyjcwolf