Ingrid Michaelson: Lights Out

ingridIngrid Michaelson
Lights Out
(Cabin 24 Records)

Buy it at Amazon!

Ingrid Michaelson has perfected a kind of balance that few artists achieve. While all of the songs on Lights Out feel personal, they are still poppy enough to be just as infectious as anything currently on the radio.

Though Michaelson is a singer/songwriter, most of her songs do not follow the traditional acoustic path. Layered vocals in the introduction of “Warpath” give way to a rock spirit that is deliciously ‘80s, and “One Night Town” sounds like it could have been produced by The Eurythmics. “Time Machine” is hypnotically engaging from the first note of the piano, and the saxophone flourishes are an unexpected, brilliant touch to show how Michaelson stands out from the pack.

If there’s one minor complaint I have about Lights Out, it’s that there are several duets. However, I understand Michaelson’s choice to include them. So many of the songs are about love and benefit from a male voice, and none of these feel weak enough to be left off the album. “Wonderful Unknown” is notable not just for its subdued portraits of life with another person but because it features Greg Laswell, Michaelson’s husband. “You Got Me,” which includes Storyman (formerly known as The Guggenheim Grotto), is a folky track that builds from simplicity to the edge of losing control. A Great Big World have received a lot of buzz for their duet with Christina Aguilera, and on “Over You” they mesh well with Michaelson in capturing the conflict of trying to move on from a former lover.

Lights Out is a perfect blend of pop sensibility and candid confession, and I applaud Michaelson for bringing out an album nearly an hour long. It’s this lack of compromise that shows her staying power, and her earned place on the charts.

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About Casey Hicks

Casey Hicks toils her daylight hours away in an office high above Manhattan in order to afford nights of passionately scribbling. The first song she remembers ever hearing is "Lola" by the Kinks. She thinks this explains a lot.
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