Online Review: Emeli Sandé – Our Version Of Events
The spotlight on this Scottish singer and songwriter is burning BRI(gh)T right now*. Having written hits for half of the pop charts – as well as herself – will Emeli Sandé’s debut album deliver in the same way as singles Heaven and Daddy have? Hattie Collins finds out.
Well, the BRITS Critics Choice winner might not please everyone with this record, but she’s certainly kept RWD happy. While the previously mentioned singles are two of a small handful of upbeat tracks on the album, there’s plenty of heartbroken slow-jams for fans of Adele and Ed Sheeran to appreciate. Unconcerned with being ‘cool’, the 24 year-old plays to her strengths and sings insistently and convincingly about love, heartbreak, disappointment and hope. My Kind Of Love is utterly brilliant; searing, spine-tingling, eye-watering and empowering, Sandé sings the hell out of the song that could be a follow up to . The Alicia Keys collabo doesn’t disappoint either; team two talents like those two and you get Hope, a socially conscious, uplifting slice of soul that will no doubt appeal both sides of the Atlantic.
Third single Next To Me, dangerously close to God-bothery, steers clear of schmaltzy spirituality with its tribal percussion and sweeping strings. In fact a dedication to her love of music rather than a higher power, the Craze & Hoax created composition should give the Scot her next top 3 hit. Dolly Parton gets a Sandé remix on the amazing country and western flavoured Suitcase, a track recent dumpee’s will be hitting repeat to while sobbing into their chardonnay-soaked tearstained pillows. Lovers of a great lyric will appreciate River while Professor Green fans will be interested to hear Read All About It [Part III], a stripped back version of the original and one that we can’t wait to see performed live. Other excellent moments include Maybe and the brilliant Breaking The Law. With this, as with much of Emeli’s songwriting, everything is not quite as it seems. Metaphorical meanings lurk underneath her writing, making the listening to her songs an in-depth experience. Sit back and enjoy or try to crack the deeper meanings, if you choose. At the end of the day, they’re a joy to listen to, either way.
There are small missteps – Lifetime is both a bit twee and sonically mismatched with the rest of the record, though saying that, it has the potential to bag Naughty Boy’s musical Mrs. another huge hit with the teen market. And yes, the album will no doubt be criticised for being somewhat slower than the first two singles might have suggested. But essentially this is a pop-soul album; it’s an A Minor, a 19, a Get Lifted a Floetic for 2012. It’s not trying to be cool. But what stands out, and also stands up to the hype, is the incredible songwriting on display. Epic sounds underpinned by a global sensibility, Our Version… is likely to skyrocket Sandé’s around the world. This is music that millions will love.
Naughty Boy, Craze & Hoax, Mojam and Emile Haynie (Kid CuDi, Tinie Tempah) provide the production Emeli needs to showcase her incredible vocal and astute lyrics. This is an album that deserves all the success it will no doubt receive.
Rating: 4 out of 5
*Sorry, we were trying to do something clever with BRITS and bright. It needs work, we know this.
Words by Hattie Collins
Emeli Sande ‘Our Version Of Events’ Album Review
Having already enjoyed success through collaborations with Wiley and most recently Professor Green, as well as her own solo top 5 single, Emeli Sandé’s debut album ‘Our Version of Events‘ has become one of the most anticipated releases of 2012 and after just one listen it becomes clear exactly why she has been hailed as one of the most exciting artists to emerge from the UK in recent times.
Bursting with real emotion, great production and amazing vocals the album is a true credit to Emeli Sande’s talent, her potential as the UKs new favourite singer is definitely showcased throughout ‘Our Version of Events’ with a great tracklisting that takes you on an emotional journey from start to finish.
The opening song of the album ‘Heaven‘ makes for a great intro and sounds just as fresh today as it did when I first heard it, the only thing is that this song is the only record of its kind on the entire album and although I absolutely adore it to pieces I personally would have liked to hear at least one more uptempo record to balance it out. Needless to say, it doesn’t effect the quality of the material throughout the rest of the album and what you do get is more then your moneys worth, you can’t put a price on something timeless, which is just what this record is.
‘My Kind of Love‘, a song which sounds like the sort of thing that Alicia Keys would have written and performed herself is very emotive and delivers raw lyrics such as ‘sometimes the truth won’t make you happy, so I’m not going to lie‘ where as the wonderful ‘Where I Sleep‘ makes great use of nice chord changes and stunning vocals. This leads onto ‘Mountains‘ which is one of the more dramatic songs on ‘Our Version of Events’ whereas ‘Clown‘, one of my personal favourites on the album is a piano led tune that deals with insecurities and sounds flawless with Emeli Sande’s vocals. This leads on to ‘Daddy‘, a song about foolish love which is showcased through epic arrangements and lyrics such as ‘he pulled you closer, said he’ll never let go, you couldn’t trust him but you never said no‘.
The next song on the album is the beautiful ‘Maybe‘ which is just adorable, it describes the end of a relationship where as ‘Suitcase‘ explores folk territory and brings a new musical element to the album. ‘Breaking The Law‘ illustrates intense love as crime which is sung very melodically over a beautiful acoustic strum whereas ‘Next To Me‘, her latest single to be released from the album explores her fondness for her other half.
‘River‘ is another big song, it cleverly refers to the word river as an oceanic metaphor to describe the power of love as she sings ‘follow me, I’ll be your river, I’m here to keep you floating‘. This leads us onto the infectious ‘Lifetime‘ which treads the boundaries of uplifting whilst dealing with the ever changing nature of life. ‘Hope‘ changes up the entire vibe completely, in a good way that is. It’s a song for change which expresses the need for positive difference in the world through lyrics such as ‘I hope we stop taking for granted, in all of the land and all of the sea’.
The albums closing record is a beautiful rendition of her collaboration on Professor Green’s ‘Read All About It‘ which she has beautifully turned into a solo ballad that speaks about making your voice count, a great way to end such an amazing record.
Throughout the album there is a great warmth, real soul that the young Scottish born singer demonstrates with ease making ‘Our Version of Events’ a fine example of what real music is all about, it’s a masterpiece that I’m sure Emeli Sande is more then proud of. Definitely a record that has been carefully structured throughout with each song having been crafted so well and vocals that soar with true conviction.