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Human Again

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Album Review

Guys just keep breaking Ingrid Michaelson's heart. Five albums into her career, she's still singing about lost loves and bad breakups, filling every sad-eyed song with lyrics like "Open-heart surgery, that is what you do to me" and "It's a wonder that I survived the war between your heart and mine." It's dramatic, but don't expect Michaelson to wallow in her own misery. By surrounding her Lilith Fair melodies with lush, layered arrangements and movie soundtrack strings, she manages to turn even her most downtrodden songs into anthems, sounding proud and resolute despite her malfunctioning cardiac organ. Her voice has changed since 2009's Maybe; the light vibrato and quirky, almost bookish phrasing are still there, but so is a full-bodied belt that gets unleashed whenever the melody starts climbing upward. Michaelson simply sounds stronger, as though one final breakup was all she needed to find her vocal mojo. Or maybe she just needed to find super-producer David Kahne, who replaces Dan Romer — Michaelson's longtime collaborator, as well as one of the driving forces behind the summery, frothy, ukulele-fueled songs that filled 2009's Maybe — and helps give her a wintry makeover. Romer's influence is missed, particularly on the peppier songs, which tend to feel too heavy-handed in Kahne's hands. ("Blood Brothers," an uptempo tune about loving your neighbor, aims for the Ingrid equivalent of "We Are the World" and falls short.) When Human Again ditches the feel-good stuff and goes straight into drama-queen territory, though, it feels like we're finally getting to watch Michaelson come to grips with her broken heart, realizing that the only way to make things better is to fix the damn thing herself.

Customer Reviews

I am Human Again!

This album is absolutely amazing. I'm speechless. Everything she does is flawless! It was well worth the wait and I'm excited that I have some loud Ingrid songs to dance to in my room now! Love you Ingrid!!

Hmmm

I have followed Ingrid since she was playing at small gigs in Brooklyn and no one had ever heard of her. Her best album is still her first, "Slow the Rain", because it was her most authentic. This album is overproduced, autotuned in the vocals and has too much instrumentation where it really isn't needed. I kept waiting for the dark music Ingrid has been going on and on about...but I can't find it. This album isn't dark, it's upbeat and poppy, so if that is what you like, buy it, but if you were looking forward to something authentic, you are going to be disappointed.

Resilience and shine

Ms. Michaelson stepped away from her typical sound on this album and the effect is intoxicating. Don't get me wrong, I am a huge fan of the happy, barefoot, ukulele sound (and, yes, I know that's not all she's done), but I am also a huge fan of showing versatility and depth. This is something which Ms. Michaelson has brilliantly displayed. Through the story of this album, she seems (mind you, this is just my own interpretation) to delve into places of longing and hurt and battle wounds and fights through to find a spirit of hope and pure stubborn will to not only survive, but to find happiness. It reminds me of hiking a difficult path that truly tests and pushes you to your very limit but somehow you get this feeling of determination to make it to the top, grit your teeth, and climb through the pain.

More recently, I rarely purchase songs that have less than happy lyrics about love (even if they're realistic), but on this album, I couldn't resist getting the whole thing, and I'm glad I did.

Well done, Ms. Michaelson.

Biography

Born: December 8, 1979 in Staten Island, NY

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '00s, '10s

With her piano-fueled songwriting, witty wordplay, and slight vocal vibrato, Ingrid Michaelson carried the tradition of the female singer/songwriter into the 21st century. Befitting a musician of the digital age, Michaelson first gained wide exposure not through sales but instead through tracks on soundtracks, including Grey's Anatomy and One Tree Hill. Born and raised on New York's Staten Island to an artist mother and classical composer father, she began exploring music with piano lessons at the...
Full Bio
Human Again, Ingrid Michaelson
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