Christina Perri has been on a whirlwind rollercoaster for the past three years. Since that performance on So You Think You Can Dance to Perri’s Jar of Hearts, her life has changed dramatically. Her debut album Lovestrong was an international success and her Lovesong tour lasted for almost a year. Later, Perri became a global hit with her song A Thousand Years, which appears on the Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 1&2 soundtracks and went 4 times platinum.
Lovestrong was an album that grappled with the aftermath of a breakup, and revealed that Christina was comfortable in sharing her emotional journey with fans. Head Or Heart is therefore a logical extension of Perri’s debut; it features a collection of songs that discuss how we make decisions in love and in life. It has one overarching question: in matters of love, should you rely on your head or your heart?
The album opens with Trust, a song that is fairly stripped back to properly showcase Perri’s amazing vocals. With the use of a choir singing softly in the background, the track has an almost ethereal (delicate, light, not of this world) quality to it. It’s a song that doesn’t really have a climax, yet doesn’t feel repetitive or boring. Trust shows that Perri has variety, something she was criticised for on Lovestrong.
All tracks on Head Or Heart provide a beautiful lyrical depth that is portrayed well by Christina. Her voice, partnered with emotion, is a force to be reckoned with on many tracks. Be My Forever features global superstar Ed Sheeran. Lately it seems that everything Sheeran touches turns to gold, and Be My Forever is sure to be a huge hit. Looking at the previous songs of these two artists, many fans probably expect an intimate ballad from the duo. Instead we get an extremly upbeat, joyful track, in which Perri and Sheeran’s voices blend perfectly to produce gorgeous harmonies. There is a lot of lyrical repetition, but this ties in well with the catchy tune and happy vibe. Be My Forever will almost certainly be a fan favourite on the album.
Burning Gold, One Night, I Don’t Wanna Break, Sea of Lovers and Shot Me In The Heart are all up tempo pop tracks. Whilst they can feel a little generic at times, Perri’s voice is what sets them apart from the usual. Her voice is able to express many different emotions through the recordings to the listener, fron sweet shyness to powerful anger and despair, and this makes the album so relatable to so many people. Run is a song that leaves a powerful impact and is one of many songs that shows off Perri’s incredible vocal control and range. Lonely Child offers listeners a little more edge than some of the other tracks, and really takes off with a great guitar melody.
These pop numbers are cleverly interspersed with the heartfelt ballads Christina is known for. Human was a fantastic choice for the first single, and is most definitely one of the stand out songs on the album. The Words is a sweet song which leads to a big climax, while Butterfly is a more stripped back tune, once again focussing on Perri’s vocals. The last track I Believe reminds us that ballads are where Christina shines, and leaves a longlasting impression on the audience.
Overall Head Or Heart offers listeners a fantastic variety of upbeat pop and ballads, with a few curveballs thrown in. The last line of the entire album (from I Believe) states “This is not the end of me, this is the beginning”. Is this a subtle foreshadowing to us about the length of Perri’s music career? I for one certainly hope so, because unique voices with the power to express such raw emotion, as Perri does, are hard to come by.