Thursday, 16 February 2012

Review: Emeli Sande - Our Version of Events


It was on Chipmunk's "Diamond Rings" that I first heard Emeli Sande and it was shortly after Naughty Boy's UK Top 20 hit "Never Be Your Woman" that her record deal was announced. Emeli was featured on Professor Green's "Kids That Love to Dance" as well as Devlin's debut album, but it was on Tinie Tempah's "Let Go" that she shined again. Given the fact that she was signed and she had made some notable collaborations, would she be able deliver with her solo material? And is she able to craft hits of her own? Read on to find out...

Emeli Sande’s debut single (and the first track on Our Version of Events) "Heaven", was an exciting introduction to Emeli and what her solo material would sound like. It's one of Our Version of Events' highlights and sets the pace for the rest of the album.



Emeli Sande's second collaboration with Professor Green, "Read All About It" went straight to the top of the UK Singles chart. As Alicia Keys did when she sang on Jay-Z's "Empire State of Mind", Emeli Sande has included a solo version of the song "Read All About It(Pt. III)" on Our Version of Events.

While Emeli Sande's part on Professor Green's  "Read All About It" was the strongest part of the song, Emeli's solo version misses the contrast between Pro's rap and Emeli's singing. But it will at least allow for the song to be part of her live set since Professor Green will not always be able to turn up to her gigs.


Emeli's second single "Daddy" continued with the breakbeat/ soul mix that was on "Heaven". A story of a woman's fight against evil, whether it's against drugs or a useless lover I'm not sure but it makes for an interesting tale. Not Emeli's best single especially when compared to her next single "Next To Me". Whether it's a song about Emeli's faith or a lover it is not clear, what is certain is that "Next To Me" is a great uplifting song.



With that being said it's hard to mention Emeli stealing anything but it's something that occurs on more than one occasion on Our Version of Events. On "Heaven" Emeli mentions "stealing from the poor" and on "Where I Sleep" she claims "there's nothing I wouldn't steal or borrow". Those references to theft are mere in comparison to "Breaking The Law" on which Emily sings "When you need to smile/ But you can't afford it / Go on point it out/ I'm gonna steal it." The thief theme is summed up by the chorus' opening lyrics "I'll never stop/ Breaking the law for you."



"River" is a beautiful song about how Emeli will be there to support her partner, another reoccurring theme on the album. Lyrics like "Wherever you're standing, I will be by your side/ through the good, through the bad, I’ll never be hard to find" reaffirm the fact that Emeli will stand by her partner in good and bad times. Lyrically this song is great, it is a touching and emotion song-easily the best song on the album. Our Version of Events' other acoustic song "Clown" is one that could have done with more percussion, to make it a more enjoyable listen. Something like Emeli's next single "Mountains", on which a kick doesn't appear until the chorus and it isn't until towards the end that a snare kicks in, would have been more enjoyable.



In Summary:
Our Version of Events draws on Soul, RnB and Hip Hop influences to take you on an emotional but enjoyable ride. The songs are well crafted; the time and care that was poured into them can be seen in lyrics and the production. At the time of writing, Our Version of Events is at the top of the UK Album Chart and "Next To Me" is number two in the singles chart (Emeli's second solo Top 3 UK single). Something that is well deserved and further proof that good music can sell.

HIGHS:
"Heaven"
"Where I Sleep"
"Maybe"
"River"
"My Kind Of Love"

LOW(S):
"Clown"

Rating:
avoid | Stream Recommend



Our Version of Events is available to buy on iTunes UK & Amazon US. You can also stream Our Version of Events now on Spotify.