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It Doesn't Have to Make Sense

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Album Review

Ingrid Michaelson's seventh studio album, 2016's It Doesn't Have to Make Sense, finds the singer/songwriter delving into a set of sonically robust, emotionally transfiguring anthems recorded in the wake of her mother's death and the breakup of her marriage. The album follows her similarly lush 2014 effort, Lights Out, and as with that record, this one features production from a handful of longtime collaborators including bandmate bassist Chris Kuffner, Katie Herzig, Dan Romer, and others. Notably, It Doesn't Have to Make Sense was recorded after a particularly difficult period for Michaelson that found her dealing with her grief over her mother's passing, as well as her own health issues, and ultimately, the end of her marriage to singer/songwriter Greg Laswell in 2015. However, while all of these issues play into the themes of It Doesn't Have to Make Sense, it would be reductive to call this a breakup album. Primarily, Michaelson celebrates the ups and downs of life with a combination of poignancy, remembrance, and empowerment. Some cuts, like the yearning, orchestral-tinged "Drink You Gone," play with notions of romantic disappointment and resentment without getting too specific. Others, like the crisply attenuated, electronic-tinged "Hell No," juxtapose uncomfortably specific details like "I saw her wearing your sweater/Nice glasses, fake red hair/Just like me," against a buoyant melody, sparkling instrumentation, and an ecstatic chorus. Certainly, "I Remember Her" is a poetic rumination on death and how our feelings for loved ones become inextricably entwined with our sense memory of objects, smells, and holidays. Michaelson sings,"There's a smell that heat makes, it reminds me of Christmas and birthdays in December/I remember her." Elsewhere, Michaelson offers up several catchy sides in "Miss America" and the gleeful "Celebrate," that, as with most of It Doesn't Have to Make Sense, showcase her longstanding knack for transforming her personal feelings and experiences into universally relatable anthems.

Customer Reviews

It Does Make Sense!

Ingrid hits the nail right on the head again with this album. She is truly an incredible artist and time after time proves her talent. Keep up the great work, Ingrid!


SO EXCITED! The two released songs are amazing! Can't wait to hear the rest.


Ingrid continues to amaze me. Went to my six or seventh show on Tuesday in Chicago since hearing her music back in 2007 and she is so genuine. Her music really speaks to me. It's great to go to a show live and have it be even better than the recordings. Keep it up girl. Hope to meet you someday.


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