WARNING - LONG ESSAY
Human Again is a weird one for me. I have a lot of plays of it because it was the omg-new-Ingrid-music hype, and because I hated most of Everybody (too poppy, less emotional). And Human showed signs of being less pop and more "serious". But nowadays I rarely return to it, because I find a lot of the songs trying too hard to sound dramatic and serious (strings, orchestrations, drama everywhere). How We Love is by far my favourite here, it really reminds me of early Ingrid, simple production, the lyrics have that uniqueness from Girls and Boys, no clichéd stuff.
Lights Out is also trying hard imho, but to a whole other opposite direction than Human. It's like one album she's all serious, orchestra, dark lyrics, and now she's radio-friendly and too produced, and the lyrics are mostly trite and irrelevant to me. The closing track is the one exception I really love.
In retrospect, I've kinda warmed up to Everybody because in comparison to the following two it seems more simplistic and less wannabe.
Slow the Rain (Porcelain Fists are a major highlight and probably the best thing she's ever done imo, also A Bird's Song, Morning Lullabies, Charlie...)
and Girls & Boys are her truly greatest albums to me, Be OK is also very good, and from Everybody onwards is where she started losing my interest and I think with Lights Out she's completely lost me. Maybe I'll bother to check out her future stuff, maybe find a couple songs I like there.
Maybe it's me who's changed, and my view on music, because I was a teen when I discovered her, and all of her lyrics and melodies connected with me, so with getting older I don't feel that connection anymore (although I still do with her first 3 albums!). But objectively I have a feeling her lyrics have been losing creativity and diversity since Everybody, and are now all samey, relationship-related, generic.
On Slow the Rain she wrote about eating disorders, bullying, death of a loved one, and other non-love stuff; even the love songs before we're much more evocative and clever (also why I like How We Love from HA). And now, most of it is just radio-friendly indie pop blah music.
Sorrrry if this is too boring to read, but I warned you
all is purely IMO of course! I still think she's talented and all, but it's probably just not meant to be. (also, now her music reminds me of Sara Bareilles' even more, and you know I don't like her
Check these non album songs if you haven't yet, I absolutely adore them and that's what I like from her lyric-wise and production-wise:San Francisco
- this is a live version, I have a studio version she sent to people who were signed to her mailing list a couple of years ago. if you like this a lot, I can e-mail you the studio version, I like it even moreSpare Change
- I don't know for which purpose this was recorded, reminds me of Slow the Rain stuff, but is much more recent. Proof that I can still like her newer stuff, only if she put songs like this on her albums