Showing posts with label imogen heap. Show all posts
Showing posts with label imogen heap. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

the top 50 best songs of 2014 (part ii: 25-1) (VIDEO)

And there's part two. One last list to come, stay tuned!

the top 50 best songs of 2014 (part i: 50-26) (VIDEO)

That's part one, now part two!

the top 50 best songs of 2014

And now onto the third list, and by far one of the hardest to make. This year I discussed 210 albums and from there I had just under 700 songs that I considered eligible for this list. From there, the task of narrowing it down and ranking them was excruciatingly difficult, because I want to make sure this list was of the best of the best, and even with that I had to make some painful cuts. And once again, keep in mind these are not the hits. We have singles and deep cuts here, from artists who are defiantly mainstream to those lodged deep in the underground. And one more thing: for a song to land on this list, it has to have been released from an album I reviewed this year. If it was just a single, it doesn't cut it - but on a contrary note, if the single dropped last year or even the year before and the album was only released now... well, it qualifies in my books.

But enough wasting time, let's get this started with...

Thursday, August 28, 2014

video review: 'sparks' by imogen heap

Wow, this took way too long to get out, but I'm happy to get it out all the same. Damn great album, too.

Okay, Brad Paisley next, time to get back on schedule. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

album review: 'sparks' by imogen heap

The more you think about it, the more you realize how much indie pop in the modern era owes to Imogen Heap.

And believe me, you wouldn't have thought that, especially when you look at the odd arc of her career. Starting in the late 90s with i-Megaphone, Imogen Heap stepped into the indie scene with an album blending fuzz-saturated alt-rock with gorgeously, surprisingly intricate keyboard melodies and a breathy voice that proved incredibly versatile and emotionally compelling. And while on reflection that record is so 90s it's painful, Imogen Heap's talent does shine through and would be a sign that her opulent, genre-bending sophomore release in 2005 would be worth the wait.

And oh dear god it was. Let me make this clear: i-Megaphone is a decent album. Speak For Yourself is a goddamn masterpiece that's one of the best albums of the 2000s, hands down. Raw, uncomfortably intimate, overloaded with memorable melodies and genre bending with production that Imogen Heap all did herself without a record label and nearly went bankrupt for the trouble, it's the sort of desperately small-scale conceptual record that sounds so much bigger and and more meaningful than it should be... and then goes and earns that drama. The fact that it managed to be cohesive, emotional, and incredibly catchy along the way won Imogen Heap critical acclaim, but popularity would come when the ghostly autotuned and absolutely gorgeous song 'Hide & Seek' used on The OC and then sampled by Jason Derulo for one of the worst hit songs of 2009 and possibly the decade in 'Whatcha Say'.

But by that point Imogen Heap was moving onto her newest project Ellipse, which also came out in 2009... to mostly middling reviews. Critics and fans were baffled - it wasn't like Ellipse was a bad record, overstuffed with the same rich plethora of musical ideas that formed Speak For Yourself, so why wasn't it as good? Well, after a few relistens, an answer was easily apparent: the drama and emotional intensity that defined Speak For Yourself was downplayed on Ellipse, and it made the instrumental flourishes and flowery lyrics appear a lot less gripping and much more indulgent. And the more I heard about the development of Imogen Heap's newest record Sparks, the more I was concerned that same indulgence might come up again. Sure, the music would undoubtedly be pretty, but would there be the emotional intensity that drove that sophomore masterpiece, especially after a recording process that took much longer and featured instruments Imogen Heap helped design and all manner of art campaigns accompanying the many, many singles released over the past three years. But Imogen Heap has earned a ton of good will with me, so I dove deep into Sparks: do we have another masterpiece?