The revivalist tendency in popular music is still going strong, and Glaswegian soul artist Emeli Sandé’s debut album ‘Our Version of Events’ seems to be yet another artist giving strength to the movement. After hopping from one collaboration to another with some of Britain’s leading names in R&B and Hip-Hop, Sandé released her first solo single ‘Heaven’ last year. The song introduces us to the album – dreamy synths, speedy drums and of course, Sandé’s crooning.
Soul music tries to stay relevant today by just adding that little dash of alternative to the usual formula. Sandé tries to show how DIY the album is, with several songs leading with piano parts. It results in bogging down the album by making a lot of songs seem standard – with a low voice leading onto some speck of vocal virtuosity (‘Maybe’). But when you hear it all too often, you would think there’s nothing else Sandé has to offer.
‘Mountains’ almost breaks out of that formula, but ends before we really hear anything special. ‘Daddy’ shows improvement, with even more impressive, cryptic lyrics. “Put it in your pocket/ don’t tell anyone I gave you/It will be the one you run to/the one that saves you/It can be your daddy.” With a chorus like that, anyone would be intrigued enough to know the rest of the story Sandé narrates.
There’s a lot of laidback, steady drumming which gives the impression of an early Massive Attack mashup at times. ‘Breaking the Law’ (not a cover) is terrifically minimalist when it comes to instruments, with an acoustic guitar you can barely hear over Sandé’s powerful, yet consoling voice.
On tracks such as ‘Next to Me’ and ‘Lifetime’, you can hear the pop with that dash of alternative mentioned earlier. On ‘Our Version of Events’, Sandé is trying to please the fans of the soul revival, while also using her experience in hip-hop and R&B to churn out some pop-driven songs. To say the least, the album works; it charted number one on UK music charts on the day of its release. And so the revival continues, making Sandé its latest addition.