Eliza Doolittle burst onto the musical scene with her debut, self-titled album in 2010. She was dubbed ‘the new Lily Allen’, and with her fresh-face, hot pants and trainers, she took the UK pop charts by storm. Now, a bit older and with some life experience under her belt, she returns with her second album, In Your Hands.
Three years on from her first album, Doolittle seems to have found her sound. Where her first album felt a little confused, like she was really trying to emulate Lily Allen and Amy Winehouse but not quite getting there, In Your Hands feels effortless. Doolittle’s powerful, soulful voice soars over power ballads of strings and brass, but is also capable of sounding whispy and vulnerable. The girl can even rap. And all of this fits together; it doesn’t at all feel like she’s reaching to find her genre.
In between albums, Doolittle also had her heart broken, reportedly by Good Charlotte guitarist Benji Madden. In Your Hands, however, is not a breakup album. It’s so much more. It’s the whole journey, from before, to during, and after, and a couple of fun songs on the side. From the driving piano and clapping of the album opener Waste Of Time, to the rude lullaby-esque Hush, to the vulnerable and passionate In Your Hands, and the powerful ballad Team Player, Doolittle takes us on an emotional journey of a relationship, with songs about the excitement of falling in love, the pain of a breakup and the inevitable anger, and realizing the mistakes you’ve made (“I found my way with bad directions/ I’ve done my best and I’ve learnt my lessons/ and I know I can do this again and again/ so let it rain, just let it rain, just let it rain on me”).
Doolittle keeps that quirky, cheeky English sense of humour in tracks like Make Up Sex, a track I would think was definitely Lily Allen if I didn’t know better, and the lead single from the album, Big When I was Little, a track all 90’s kids would appreciate, about all those great things that were, well, big when we were little (cassette tape singles anyone?).
Though people have compared her to Lily Allen, and her soulful voice does conjure memories of Amy Winehouse, Eliza Doolittle falls far short of these two musical icons. Her sound is a fairly generic UK pop sound, and though In Your Hands is a fun album with relatable story lines (and certainly a vast improvement on her debut), it’s really nothing special.
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