Human Again



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    Human Again Cabin 24 Records / Mom + Pop Music
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Review Text Guys just keep breaking Ingrid Michaelson's heart. Five albums into her career, she's still singing about lost loves and bad breakups, filling every sad-eyed song with lyrics like "Open-heart surgery, that is what you do to me" and "It's a wonder that I survived the war between your heart and mine." It's dramatic, but don't expect Michaelson to wallow in her own misery. By surrounding her Lilith Fair melodies with lush, layered arrangements and movie soundtrack strings, she manages to turn even her most downtrodden songs into anthems, sounding proud and resolute despite her malfunctioning cardiac organ. Her voice has changed since 2009's Maybe; the light vibrato and quirky, almost bookish phrasing are still there, but so is a full-bodied belt that gets unleashed whenever the melody starts climbing upward. Michaelson simply sounds stronger, as though one final breakup was all she needed to find her vocal mojo. Or maybe she just needed to find super-producer David Kahne, who replaces Dan Romer -- Michaelson's longtime collaborator, as well as one of the driving forces behind the summery, frothy, ukulele-fueled songs that filled 2009's Maybe -- and helps give her a wintry makeover. Romer's influence is missed, particularly on the peppier songs, which tend to feel too heavy-handed in Kahne's hands. ("Blood Brothers," an uptempo tune about loving your neighbor, aims for the Ingrid equivalent of "We Are the World" and falls short.) When Human Again ditches the feel-good stuff and goes straight into drama-queen territory, though, it feels like we're finally getting to watch Michaelson come to grips with her broken heart, realizing that the only way to make things better is to fix the damn thing herself. ~ Andrew Leahey

Track Listing

CD: 1

  1. 1. Fire - 3:20
  2. 2. This is War - 3:19
  3. 3. Do It Now - 3:16
  4. 4. I'm Through - 3:27
  5. 5. Blood Brothers - 3:12
  6. 6. Black and Blue - 4:37
  7. 7. Ribbons - 3:27
  8. 8. How We Love - 4:33
  9. 9. Palm of Your Hand - 3:11
  10. 10. Ghost - 4:01
  11. 11. In the Sea - 3:18
  12. 12. Keep Warm - 3:18
  13. 13. End of World - 4:44

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