After being told by friends that they no longer need to count down to the release of the new Ingrid Michaelson CD because I am constantly Tweeting about it, the release day has finally arrived for “Everybody.” I’ve been looking forward to this new CD for about a month, after seeing her live in a secret showcase in NYC this summer (the crazy things you find on Twitter).
At the showcase, she played the majority of the songs from the new CD, including the first official performance of “Soldier.” I wasn’t the world’s biggest Ingrid fan until the showcase (more of a passive listener), but anyone who knows me can tell you that I’m now a little crazy with how much I love her. So, on to the review. When Ingrid talked about the new album, she said several times that it was about what happens when love just isn’t enough.
Last October’s album, “Be OK,” was a mix of original songs and covers – all of which were wonderful, but I was looking forward to more original music. I found that in “Everybody.” While “Be OK” was focused more on the early love stages of a relationship, “Everybody” brings together the mixed feelings of a relationship that has aged some, and not always in the best way. This CD drives home that there are doubts in relationships and that while love is the most important, it’s not always enough to sustain even the best of relationships. The whole album seems to waver back and forth between these ideas – that love is all you need, but that maybe even if you do love someone, it might not be the right someone or enough love for it to be permanent. One of the most powerful moments in her showcase was that she mentioned that this album was harder to make and talk about than “Be OK.” Her last album was about so much happiness, and this was more about heartbreak and the sadness that comes with that happiness. Ingrid really opens up to her listeners with her music, which isn’t something you can say about everyone.
This CD definitely has a different tone than the last, and I think it’s so amazing that she can open up to the world like this. She is definitely underappreciated by a lot of people, and I think that’s a shame. She’s an incredible artist.
1. “Soldier” – “and so it goes, this soldier knows/the battle with the heart isn’t easily won/but it can be won”
This song is about trust, plain and simple. She doesn’t know if she can trust the person she loves (“how do I know if I’ll make it through?/how do I know? where’s the proof in you?”) or if she can even trust herself to fall in love (“and so this soldier knows/the battle with the heart isn’t easily won/but it can be won”). This is a song about self-struggle, and a brilliant opener for the album.
2. “Are We There Yet?” – “and it won’t be too much/cuz this is too much/cuz this is too much for me to hold”
This wonderfully sad song seems to be about being with someone, but it not being the right someone and not knowing what to do about it. Each repetition of “are we there yet?” is more heartbreaking than the last, drawing out the feeling that she wants to be happy and settle with this person, but at the same time knowing it just isn’t quite right. (And yes, in the lyrics it says “cuz,” not “cause.”)
3. “Everybody” – “in this world it’s hard to get it right/trying to make your heart fit like a glove/what it needs is love, love, love”
This is easily one of my favorite songs on the album, with its uncanny ability to convey a hard message with an upbeat tempo and happy-sounding chorus (“everybody, everybody wants to love/everybody, everybody wants to be loved”). This song isn’t concerned with finding just any old love – it’s about persevering through the pain to find the right love. Love may be all around, but not all love is right for every person.
4. “Sort Of” – “and if I was stronger than I would up and go/but here I am and here we go again”
I’m not going to lie – when I first heard this song live, I wasn’t really listening. I imagined it to be a love song, but it’s not. It’s about loving someone but knowing they are not good for you, which I know resonates with everyone.
5. “Incredible Love”– “you take it away but then you give it right back/just take it away, don’t give it back”
Honestly, this is probably my least favorite song on the album because it has more of a technological feel than the acoustic sound of other songs. Even her voice sounds altered, which is hard for me to understand. It works with the meaning of the song, but it’s hard for me to want to listen to this one repeatedly.
6. “The Chain” – “but if you come around again/then I will take the chain from off the door”
If you’re an Ingrid fan, you’ll already know she’s put out a live version of this. I didn’t think it would be possible to enjoy a studio version as much, but the crispness the studio provides gives the round at the end a special touch.
7. “Mountain and the Sea”– “I will grow my own trees/while you follow the moon”
This is one more upbeat analogy, more about longing than love or loss. The more upbeat songs on this album are the less cliche, in my opinion, and this puts out an understood meaning with a new face. I like it.
8. “Men of Snow”– “everything you love and hold so dear/it won’t really matter when we disappear”
I can only take this as a commentary on the impermanence of love and life – the song is about a snowman, for crying out loud. It took me a few tries to listen to it, but I enjoy it more every time I listen to it.
9. “So Long” – “you have made me into someone/who should not hold a loaded gun”
Another slower song, but still moving. Basically, this song is about the days after a serious break-up and how they affect the narrator. With a chorus like “and so long to no disasters/and mornings too/and so long to ever afters/so long to you,” I know you’ve felt this at least once in your life. This song offers no ‘Well, it’ll get better’ hope, and just shows the raw emotion of the breakup (which I personally love in a song).
10. “Once Was Love”- “just because there once was love/don’t mean a thing”
This is probably my break-up anthem – I just got out of a serious relationship, and I recently had an encounter in which he proclaimed this sense of entitlement. So it was good to have this as reassurance that
11. “Locked Up” – “but I’m not seventeen/and I lost it in between the birthday cakes/and past mistakes that roll on by
I’m not going to lie. This song I rock out to while I drive – it’s fun, hip, upbeat and like most Ingrid songs, is a little bit sad while at the same time sounding very excited. Although I think I’m missing something with “like an angry apple tree/i throw my apples if you get too close to me” that I feel like I should get, the rest of the lyrics are great.
So, if you haven’t been living under a rock as an Ingrid fan, you’ve probably already heard this one, released earlier this summer as a single. She said at the showcase that they actually threw this one together at the last minute and it ended up being the song they used for the single, which is a fun fact for you.
Finally, I’d like to put out my two cents on something – Ingrid has been tweeting about the fact that some reviewers say she uses the word love too many times in her songs, and she’s a little irritated because she feels that she can use the word love as many times as she wants. And normally I’d be against an overage, but honestly, her songs are different and not cliche – therefore, I don’t mind.