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Album Review: Emeli Sandé – Our Version Of Events

Photo: Pauline Keightley

I love that Emeli Sandé is a medical student; I love that she has a passion for Virginia Woolf and I love that she has already found a signature haircut. I love all this because she is different and though that word is overused, hearing something different is often hearing an interesting, exciting voice that has something new to say and hearts as loud as lions have no reason to be tamed.

Comparisons to Alicia Keys, Beyoncé and Adele have been rife since the album sampler found it’s way into the hands of critics, but where I see inspiration making waves on ‘Our Version Of Events’ is through the lyrics. As I stated earlier, Sandé loves Woolf and in one of literature’s most applauded writers, we saw an incredible eye for the most beautiful imagery conjured from tedious human activity. That is what is exciting about Emeli Sandé.

These lyrics are not in an impossible language. They are not difficult to comprehend. The stories she tells are intrinsic to human behaviour and in a world where people are attempting to be innovative, poetic and often succeeding only in being pretentious, the simple metaphors of ‘Mountains’ and ‘River’ shine as some of the most effective lyrics the pop world can boast.

On the music front, however, I have a bit of a problem. The tracks on this record are stunning. The strings on ‘Maybe’ and ‘Where I Sleep’ are immense and the understated choruses of ‘Lifetime’ and ‘Mountains’ will keep you coming back. But as a selection of tracks that are supposed to work together, they fall short. Tacking so many mid-tempos and ballads next to one another (the only real up-tempo tracks are the three singles) mean that it’s difficult to make it though the, admittedly short, album. Pick and choose the tracks as you see fit and you’ll unlock their glory but as a cohesive record, a little variety might have worked some magic.

So if you were one of the many that missed out on falling in love with sophomore single ‘Daddy’, you’ll be happy to know that it stands out as one of the highlights on the album, as does the closing piece – a solo version of Sandé’s Professor Green duet ‘Read All About It’, a track which predicts her chart-bothering future with the beautiful lyric ‘It’s about time we got some airplay of our version of events’.

Photo: Pauline Keightley
Words: Simon McMurdo

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