Wednesday 21 February 2018

Human touch from the Grey's Anatomy balladeer

Ingrid Michaelson
Human Again

John Meagher

John Meagher

Ingrid Michaelson is not a household name. Far from it.

But if you area devotee of such popular US TV shows as Grey's Anatomy, One Tree Hill and Scrubs, you will have heard her heart-on-her-sleeve brand of balladry.

Think of that moment when some unfeasibly attractive medic has broken Meredith Grey's heart (yet again) and chances are it will be a Michaelson song that's gently unfurling in the background.

There's a growing market for soppy songs to soundtrack sappy moments in any number of telly dramas -- which is good news for Michaelson and co.

But enough of the cynicism; this -- the New Yorker's fifth album -- is an assured collection of well-crafted compositions that flit from sweet to bittersweet in a heartbeat.

Her best material is piano-led and her voice -- clear and pure -- isn't a million miles from Carole King, although she has yet to write anything that resonates as powerfully as that of the Laurel Canyon doyenne.

Still, Palm of Your Hand and End of the World show Michaelson has plenty to say about the trials of modern romance, while Ribbons unflinchingly picks over the carcass of a broken relationship.

In places, her observations are so obvious as to be worthless and some of her lyrics are so prosaic as to be offensive. But, in her more enlightened moments, her quietly engaging songs are worth investigation.

Just don't expect the edge or caustic observations of a Fiona Apple or Tori Amos.

KEY TRACKS Ribbons; Palm of Your Hand

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