Ingrid Michaelson holds nothing back on her latest album, the explosive Human Again. Her fifth release reflects a different side of Ingrid, one that pushes the perimeters of her past musical efforts. No more sweet, sad love songs like before. This time out she sounds like she’s ready to fight for her emotional ground and she’s brought her army with her – a studio full of musicians. The album begins with a gorgeous, but hyper string arrangement which sets the stage for an expansive, slick, and well produced album. Michaelson produces with David Kahne, whose credits sparkle with big time names include Paul McCartney, Stevie Nicks, Tony Bennet and Regina Spektor.
Of Human Again, Michaelson says “I feel like it's time to stand up and really sing. [This record] is fiercer and not as childlike.” It’s true. The intense songs are more intense, the sad songs are sadder. Her voice has developed more depth since we last heard from her. She claims that she is singing harder on this record than ever before. Believe it. Michaelson ‘s new sound also seems to be an attempt at laying claim to a larger pop music audience.
What’s interesting to note is Ingrid Michaelson’s metaphor usage when describing her broken heart. It’s all very violent with dying pieces, open heart surgeries and broken-hearted collapses onto knees. She’s long been adept at portraying the emotional damage done by a significant other, but here she reaches new heights in describing the scarring as physical injury. Although excessive, it’s actually completely relatable. Michaelson displays her deep understanding of human nature and it’s painful outcomes.
Some who listen may feel that the intimacy expressed in Michaelson’s earlier work is completely gone or muted on Human Again. In her music she came across as a good friend who shared with you her most sacred moments in life. If you listen, you’ll still hear it. It’s in her voice, wounded, angry, and resilient, always finding a way to pin her emotions down to earth. She’s trying out a lot of new sounds, but it’s still Ingrid Michaelson behind all that flare.