Saturday, February 24, 2007

Review: Imogen Heap Album "Speak For Yourself"

I'll say it right now: I love Imogen Heap. I think she is an incredibly talented musician who, even after being nominated at the Grammy Awards, is extremely under appreciated by music fans. Her songs are solid and her use of electronic music technology is breathtaking. This talented artist is a true one-woman band who doesn't have to rely on tricks and gimmicks to stand out. Her crazy personality and talent work just fine.

So when Imogen Heap started her own record label to release her solo album "Speak for Yourself", I figured she might get some good reviews in the US, but might not even receive US distribution. But when RCA Victor picked up the rights to distribute in the US, I knew something big was going to happen.

Fast forward to Imogen Heap, dressed like a background performer in the Calista Flockhart version of A Midsummer Night's Dream on Grammy night losing Best New Artist to the far more well known and commercial Carrie Underwood. More surprisingly, Imogen Heap was the only Best New Artist nominee NOT to perform at the Grammys. Though, interesting sidenote, a friend of mine who works for Atlantic Records told me how the head of the label had to call and bitch every day to NARAS to get James Blunt a performance slot for the show, so at least Imogen wasn't supposed to be alone. But what can a self-run artist do to get that kind of respect in the industry?

Release an incredible album. "Speak for Yourself" is an underrated masterpiece, filled with great song after great song. All of her music incorporates catchy repeated keyboard patterns with nice touches of other instrumentation and creative use of vocals and wordplay. The crowning achievement, of course, is the show-stopping track "Hide and Seek". Imogen takes the traditionally used for effect only Vocoder and, with the help of her trusty keyboard, creates a musical landscape of layered vocals that could make a grown man cry.

This CD is routinely available, even after the Grammys, in the discount bin at stores. It's more than worth it to invest your time and money in will undoubtedly be one of the most listened to albums in your collection.

Varb For Me