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Imogen Heap is a British singer and song writer from Essex who has been playing music since a young age and who has released three albums: iMegaphone (which is an anagram of her name Imogen Heap), Speak For Yourself and this one, Ellipse, which was the most recent one in 2009. She was also the singer of the band Frou Frou and released one album, Details, which I recently reviewed.
Imogen Heap's style can be described as pop. It also has some dancy and electronic elements. Her style is quite original and I think she sounds very different to most female singers out there.
=== Tracklist of Ellipse ===
1. First Train Home
2. Wait It Out
4. Little Bird
7. Between Sheets
9. Bad Body Double
11. The Fire
13. Half Life
=== Atmosphere and Flow of the Album ===
The album is quite relaxing, laid back and chilled in atmosphere. Some of the songs are quite sad and about bad relationships or breakups, such as a couple of the ones discussed below in the best songs section. There are also some songs about unrequited love, such as Swoon. Some are a bit more upbeat and bouncier such as Earth. The whole album flows well apart from my worst song, Bad Body Double, which I think interrupts the flow with its cheesiness and slightly ruins things.
=== Best Songs ===
For me there are three clear best songs on this album which I absolutely love, and I have often put these individual songs on repeat. They are First Train Home, Wait It Out and Tidal.
First Train Home is a song about escaping a relationship which has become stagnant to the extent that you just start to feel trapped and resent each other. It is quite an uplifting, optimistic song about getting out of this and I quite identify with it when thinking back to my last boyfriend who I was with a couple of years and then broke up with him because I wanted to move away. Imogen sings "first train home, I've got to get on it, got to catch, catch, catch..." which is quite a catchy and upbeat chorus. She sings about all the simple things she wants to do and which she can't while she is just stuck in the rut of this relationship. "I want to run in fields, paint the kitchen, love someone, and I can't do any of that here can I?" She sums up the relationship in quite a matter of fact way, "what matters to me doesn't matter to you, what matters to you doesn't matter to me" and I think this basically summed up my last relationship as well, so the song resonates with me and probably will with a lot of people who have experienced that sort of situation. It has a nice tune, poppy and lightly electronic and dancy but very listenable.
Wait It Out is a beautiful song about post break up feelings. Some of the lyrics here are really effective in my opinion, simple but powerful. "Everybody says that time heals everything, but what of the wretched hollow, the endless inbetween, are we just going to wait it out?" When I first heard this song a few years back I misheard the lyrics quite badly and was thinking "what the...?!" as I had heard "a Thai meal's everything" instead of time heals everything, so sometimes it makes me laugh because of that but the real lyrics are great! Towards the middle of the song there is a more powerful part which builds up and becomes quite intense, with some ahh ahh oh type noises over the music, and it then calms back down into a slower and thoughtful atmosphere. The song is just really nice and easy to relate to as well.
Tidal is quite a full and dramatic sounding song which I really enjoy. It is very heavily produced and electronic in style. It has some quirky lyrics such as "before electric light, you paddled through the soup of darkness as a crocodile". Tidal has a lovely, soaring chorus where Imogen's clear and powerful voice is used to good effect. I find this song relaxing and it has a sort of shimmering sparkling quality to it in my opinion.
=== Worst Songs ===
Personally I really don't like the song Bad Body Double and find it quite cringeworthy. It is a song about body image and I think the lyrics are just too blatant and cheesy, such as "she pops into the bathroom just after a shower and plays with my makeup and creams, trying to look like me..." It also has some sound effects like running shower water, and some of the singing has echo effect also as if under the shower. I think it sticks out a bit on the album and I don't really enjoy it. Sometimes I skip this song.
=== Overall ===
I really enjoy this album and have listened to it lots of times, so I will just take off 1 star due to the song Bad Body Double. The rest is great and I do recommend this album.
Imogen Heap is a singer/songwriter from London, well known for her work in the band Frou Frou who's songs have featured on films such as Shrek 2 and Garden State. After Frou Frou disbanded Imogen Heap pursued her solo career and released severl solo albums, most notably "Speak for Yourself" which was released in 2005.
I've been a fan of Imogen Heap since the release of "Speak for Yourself" as I find her voice absolutely beautiful and all of her songs so simple, catchy and occasionally haunting. And so when Ellipse was released it was a must buy for myself...I was not disappointed.
The first track of the album First Train Home is brilliant, the lyrics (especially towards the end) are fantastic and it is such an amazing start to the album, fairly quick tempo and rippling synth coupled with gorgeous vocals (as per usual!) sets a high standard for the rest of the album!
Between the Sheets is another astonishing piece, beautiful lyrics..vocals and melody (I know I'm repeating myself!). And Bad Body Double gives wonderful lyrics with one liners which every girl can relate to and simply shows that not everyone is perfect, despite what they wish.
Without a doubt my favourite song on the album, and currently my most played on iTunes is Wait it Out. It is simply stunning. The beginning starts strongly and at a fairly quick pace but then mellows towards the end where the lyrics are beautiful and you realise how much emotion is in the song. Gorgeous.
I haven't reviewed every song on the album, only some favourites but all of them are individually beautiful with breathtaking parts of different songs, Imogen Heap fails to disappoint me with this album and is one of my favourites, perhaps even parring with Speak for Yourself.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 First train home
2 Wait it out
4 Little bird
7 Between sheets
9 Bad body double
11 The fire
13 Half life