Imogen Heap: Speak For Yourself Review

Imogen Heap: A unique and very eccentric recording artist who does all of the work on her songs on her own with no extra help during the process. Her second album, “Speak For Yourself,” is her first step into her new-age sound, after the more organic “iMegaphone.” So how does this album speak for itself? Let’s get into it!

{2 Notes before I start this review:

– A great number of the “Speak For Yourself” hard copy albums are copy-protected, meaning they can’t be used in computers. I recommend buying a digital copy.

– If you don’t like the songs the first time around, I strongly recommend giving them a few days and coming back to them. Imogen is the kind of artist that really needs to grow on you.}

 

1. Headlock 8/10

This song really shows what you’re in for on this album. It has a very out-there sound that is very odd but will get stuck in your head. The sudden blast of sound in the middle of the song is a nice touch as well.

Favorite Line: “We’re a different pair, do something out of step/Throw a stranger an unexpected smile.”

 

2. Goodnight and Go 6/10

This one isn’t very interesting. No matter how many times I come back to it, it feels very unmelodious and forced. It’s okay, but definitely not the strongest one on the album. It’s B-Side, “Speeding Cars,” is infinitely better, but that’s for another review. =)

Favorite Line: “And then I’m left in bits, recovering tectonic tremblings”

 

3. Have You Got It In You? 8/10

This song will just get stuck in your head no matter what. You’ll find yourself singing the verses throughout the day and you’ll get urges to belt out the infectiously perfect chorus. Even though it’s so great melody-wise, there’s something missing in the song. Maybe it’s that it feels to repetitive, or that the instruments don’t quite work all of the time, which is a rarity for Imogen, who has perfectly composed instrumentals. It’s still a great song nonetheless.

Favorite Line: “Been one of those days/Safety first, don’t push… what’s the hurry?”

 

4. Loose Ends 7/10

Loose Ends is one of those songs that you love but aren’t very fond of at the same time. I really like the vocal scats and the instrumentation, but sometimes it feels to be a little too much, especially by the last chorus. Although, I must admit, the random electric guitar that comes in towards the end is pretty cool.

Favorite Line: “We’re kissing without kissing… Got it down to a fine art.”

 

5. Hide And Seek 11/10

No, that’s not a typo. This song surpasses perfect for me, no exaggeration. This is tied with a few other songs for my absolute favorite song of all time. It’s all so perfect. Unfortunately, this song is a hit-or-miss for most people; some (like me) think it’s a masterpiece while others call it a stupid song that takes itself too seriously. According to rumor, Imogen wrote this about her parent’s divorce when she was 12 and how it affected her. Its lyrics are wonderfully poetic, and the instrumentation (which is only a vocoder) adds a certain bare-bones power to the tune. This is one of the only songs that’s moved me to tears. It’s fantastic.

Favorite Line: “Oily marks appear on walls where pleasure moments hung before”

 

6. Clear the Area 7/10

This falls into the same category as “Loose Ends.” It’s a good song, but something feels off. The tinkly sound is very catchy but is annoying at the same time. It’s a hard song to comment on because it’s so conflicted.

Favorite Line: “Knock knock, are you alone?/No-one’s out here and I was not followed.”

 

7. Daylight Robbery 8.5/10

I normally try to keep my scores whole numbers, but I couldn’t for this song. It’s a silly song, but it knows that and it takes that and runs with it. The weird synth voice at the beginning lets you know what you’re in for. The chorus is quite possibly more catchy than “Have You Got It In You?” And the chord progression is genius. The use of electric guitar is a nice contrasts to the synths in the rest of the song. But it has its downsides, like the downright unnecessary squeaky, trippy drum set following the chorus. It really detracts from the dance appeal of the song.

Favorite Line: “Excess is the new moderation”

 

8. The Walk 9/10

This not-quite ballad has a very cool feel to it. It has piano and string scats that pop up throughout the song to contrast a drum set and, of course, an electric guitar that appears randomly in the song. Notice a pattern here? But honestly, the piano and string bits are to die for.

Favorite Line: “Oh, I was doing so well, can we just be friends?/I feel a weakness coming on.”

 

9. Just For Now 8//10

A fan favorite, “Just For Now” showcases Immi’s love for vocal-oriented songs. Besides the entrancing vocals that flow beautifully throughout the song, there’s nothing much to say about this song. It has some interesting chords, but the melody is nothing too special.

Favorite Line: “I know we’ve all had a bumpy ride/I’m secretly on your side”

 

10. I Am In Love With You 8/10

This is close to being a 9, as are most of the songs on this albums that I list as 8’s. This is a very blunt song, to put it politely. (Spoiler Alert: It’s about a one-night stand.) Although it could be more outward, actually; the demo version had the line “I want to f*** you” randomly in the middle of the song. The vocals are great in this, though: From a raw-ish sound at the beginning to the backwards-reverb scats in the middle to the siren dit Imogen does towards the end. And I guarantee that base synth at the beginning will get stuck in your head.

Favorite Line: “I am in love with you… yeah/At least for the moment.”

 

11. Closing In 8/10

I take back my previous statement; this one exception is closer to a 7. It has wonderful instrumentation with a beautiful piano part and the verse and bridge melodies are great. The chorus just doesn’t sound very good melody-wise, though. It’s still a very good song, though.

Favorite Line: “I just have to kiss you… try and stop me”

 

12. The Moment I Said It 9/10

This song is a great ballad song and a good way to close off the album. It’s beautifully done, but it kind of drags on. The lyrics are very powerful though, as are in most Immi songs.

Favorite Line: All of it. The lyrics are that good in this song.

 

Overall: 8/10

“Speak For Yourself” is a great album for Imogen Heap. Although it occasionally suffers from lacking melodies and overpowering instrumentals, it mostly hits the mark and offers a decent range of different songs styles. It also has a different element added in each song to keep your ears interested. I would recommend this album, but as stated in the notes at the beginning, listen to it a couple times before you buy or you might be disappointed.

 

 

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