I’d heard about this Siobhán Donaghy person for awhile on music forums and blogs before I decided to check her music out. It was when I read a review of her forthcoming album Ghosts that posited that she was the ‘new Kate Bush’ that I decided I must check Siobhán out.
It turns out she’s kind of amazing.
I can’t overemphasize how much I enjoy listening to Siobhán’s vocals – she sings in a way that makes you stop and just want to listen to whatever she’s singing about. Her clear, pretty tone is accentuated by great instrumental arrangements and production by James Sanger (who has worked with Dido, U2, and Keane).
This album is going to be one of the best of 2007, even if it doesn’t achieve great commercial success. Artistically and creatively, the album succeeds, and I do hope that it does well because more people should be listening to good music. :)
Track by track:
Don’t Give It Up: The chilled beat and electronic touches of this song are infectious. Siobhán delivers the lyrics in such a refreshing and engaging vocal that lines that talk of such things as “this total ache” are more hopeful and optimistic than melancholic. The chorus brings that spirit of hope to the fore with uplifting strings and Siobhán’s beautiful vocals imploring us to not “give it up” because “we all have the scars to show.” A great start to the album.
So You Say: I have to admit, this song had to grow on me. But once it did, I loved it. Strings, guitars, and a leisurely beat play throughout the verses and build to the chorus, which has a heavier drum beat and a bright vocal from Siobhán. It may be a bit long at 4:19 and might have benefited from some trimming to leave it under the 4 minute mark (it’s a great song but seems to drag on a bit toward the end), but that’s a small nitpick for an otherwise nifty song.
There’s A Place: This is the one track on the album that I just can’t seem to get into, no matter how many times I listen to it. It’s pretty, to be sure, and pleasant enough – but as much as I love Siobhán’s vocals, they’re a bit… screechy in parts here. Still, I sometimes find myself getting bits of the song stuck in my head, so maybe there’s hope for me liking this song yet. ;)
Sometimes: Ah, here we go, back on form. Great vocal flourishes with a more up-tempo beat make this a lovely little tune. As I sit here trying to think of a word to describe this song, the only one that rings true is “glorious.” I think that suits the song perfectly. :)
12 Bar Acid Blues: I like this one a lot, but it doesn’t really gel with the rest of the album. (In contrast, even though I’m not too fond of ‘There’s A Place,’ it’s sound still works with the rest of the tracks.) ’12 Bar Acid Blues,’ a bluesy but strongly pop-infused song, might have made more sense as a B-side. It’s a fun song, but musically it is almost too ‘safe’ for this album!
Make It Right: I love this song. I find myself swaying from side to side and singing along when listening to it. I can’t quite explain why it’s such a great song, but it just works, you know?
Coming Up For Air: The intro to this song is reminiscent of Madonna’s ‘Frozen’ – ambient touches and a ‘dark’ atmosphere. This leads into a down-tempo groove with lyrics that, I’m guessing, give an insight to the period in her life when she was diagnosed and suffering from clinical depression. The song is ultimately one of strength and determination.
Goldfish: I adore the chorus of this song; the melody is so pretty and I love the piano/keyboard/synth. Whatever it is, it sounds great. The whole song is beautiful and if you give it a chance, you will fall under its spell.
Medevac: This seems to be the song a lot of people are talking about, and for very good reason. It’s quite brilliant. The pulsing synths and pounding bass underline the desperation in Siobhán’s voice. It’s an intense song with Kate Bush overtones (the line ‘if only you could wrap me up’ and the way it’s sung may be a nod to Kate’s genius ‘Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)’), which means that I absolutely love this song. The stand-out track of the album.
Halcyon Days: On my first listen to the album, this track stood out to me, and I thought it may end up being my favorite track. It did. :) The chorus is gorgeous and the whole track has a dream-like vibe. The vocals are played with in parts (‘it’s tender to behold’) and Siobhán’s voice is downright ethereal. Simply excellent.
Ghosts: This is probably my second-favorite song from the album (‘Medevac’ is the third, for those keeping track!). The vocals are reversed. I guess. I have no idea what is going on in this song, and I love that. This is the most daring, inventive track on the album and while it might not be radio-friendly, who cares? It’s a sublime conclusion to a sublime album.
Be sure to buy it when it is released on June 25!!