Elton John once sang “sad songs say so much” and it’s probably safe to say that we all have a sad song in our list of all-time favourite songs, those are the songs we are often drawn to, we can sympathise, empathise and relate to these moments of emotional outpouring. We find comfort knowing some rich, famous singer in LA shares the exact same emotions that we do.
Michelle Lewis’s album has more than its fair share of sad songs, but they are mostly delivered with an optimistic outlook, yes, she’s been hurt but she’s still here and not only has she learnt from those heartbreaks she’s managed to channel it into songs and it’s pretty uplifting in parts.
The album starts with ‘That’s What They Say’ and it’s a fantastic opening song, and possibly the strongest on the album, Lewis is rightly put front and centre but with a full band supporting her country-tinged voice perfectly. The album dips its toes into folk, country, pop and there is even time for a duet with Nashville singer Robby Hecht on ‘In Love Again’, a wry look at accepting our partners annoying habits.
Bruce Springsteen’s 80’s classic ‘Dancing In The Dark’ is bravely covered here, the emphasise is put on the lyrics with the music being stripped back to reveal something of a folk song. The biggest compliment I can give is that it doesn’t feel out of place among the other tracks.
For anybody with a weakness for sad songs, get yourself a box of tissues for ‘Scars’, it will make even the stoniest of hearts crack a little, written after learning about the life her Grandmother lived, her losses, her triumphs and, eventually, her passing.
It’s immediately followed by the upbeat, pop song ‘You and Me’ that has simple production but has a catchy chorus, so if you’re not still teary-eyed from ‘Scars’ you’ll be humming ‘You and Me’.
There are hints of Celtic influences on earlier songs, particularly on ‘Push On’, another strong song that the record producer in me would suggest backing vocals. You can almost hear a second melody that would lift the track but maybe that’s the point. These are private, intimate songs whispered between friends, lovers and singer and listener.
I initially thought this was going to be another ‘girl with a guitar’ album, singing about break ups and sadness but this is so much more. Michelle’s world is one of accepting and exploring sadness, it’s everywhere we look if we stop and notice it, but she also recognises the lessons learnt and the joys that can come from experiencing, and negating, it.
It’s definitely worth a few moments of your time.