Lights Out is the latest album to be released by New York-based indie-pop singer Ingrid Michaelson. It is her sixth studio effort and lies among an array of other collaborations, appearances on television series and commercials. Michaelson is an adaptive type, and is able to write catchy tunes for the mass audience. With a back catalogue of hits such as Be OK, Fire and You & I, latest offering Lights Out is a continuation of that alternative side of indie-pop.
The album kicks off with Home and the track is a great introduction to Michaelson’s vocal abilities. She is tuneful, melodic, yet powerful when called for. The instrumentation drives her forward into an epic closing that can easily be imagined pouring from arenas. First single off of the album is Girls Chase Boys, and was released in February of this year. Originally a break-up song, Michaelson states the song takes on a deeper meaning, shifting focus to “no matter who we love, we are all the same”. It’s a jumpy number and sits very much on the pop-end of her songwriting spectrum. The vocal performance does slightly resemble that of indie sensation Lorde at times and fans of either performer should definitely check the other one out.
The album continues to fluctuate between that alternative sound we have come to know with what Michaelson has offered up previously, and full on modern day pop. You Got Me and Handsome Hands are both good examples of the alt indie side, whereas numbers such as Warpath, Time Machine and One Night Town shift entirely to that almost over produced, over written girl pop venture. This leaves the album slightly out of balance at times where the sound is caught between the two genres, not quite delivering a tidy package.
Open Hands brings us back to the other side of the scale and with welcome arms. It’s a piano driven ballad and beautifully put together with simplicity and a stunning vocal performance. Lights Out closes in good fashion, with the rocky Afterlife and the ever expansive soundscape of Everyone Is Gonna Love You Now. These demonstrate how versatile a songwriter Michaelson can be, once again able to cater to a wider audience.
Lights Out is solid album with a number of well crafted tunes. Michaelsons voice is something to marvel at and she demonstrates that clearly throughout the album. Yes, there are a few tracks thrown in there that may not entirely sit right with the rest of proceedings, but at least she is experimenting with her own sound. For the most part, Lights Out is a genuinely intriguing listen, and shows the ability of a performer who can turn her hand to a number of genres and writing styles. It is well crafted, and well worth a spin.