Behold a slightly different Emeli Sandé to the one who was, five years ago, as ubiquitous as shoes
It’s taken Emeli Sandé almost five years to follow her 5m-selling debut ‘Our Version Of Events’, a length of time that feels apposite both for her sake and ours. ‘Overexposed’ doesn’t begin to do justice to how ubiquitous the Scots-Zambian singer became in the 18 months following that album’s release – for a while it felt as if the BBC, the Brits and her record label were colluding in jamming a feeding tube down the nation’s oesophagus until the pop-soul gruel came oozing out of our tear ducts. For Sandé herself, meanwhile, such sudden, all-pervasive fame came at a high personal cost of its own. In 2014 she went through a painful divorce from her long-term partner after just one year of marriage.
The curiously subdued response to her recent comeback single may indicate a certain weariness on the public’s part for round two, but it’s certainly no fault of the song itself – the defiant, Rihanna-esque ‘Hurts’ is about as far from the ‘granny music’ epithet bestowed on her by Noel Gallagher as it’s possible to get. In fact, at its best – like the libidinous, Jay Electronica-featuring ‘Garden’, or the intimate, Twin Peaksy ambience of ‘Happen’ – ‘Long Live The Angels’ reveals an angrier, edgier Emeli Sandé, with bitter experience in that mellifluous (if overfamiliar) voice.
‘Hurts’ taken from new album ‘Long Live The Angels’ out November 11th Download on iTunes: //emelisan.de/Hurtsi Listen on Spotify: //emelisan.de/Hurtsp Listen on Apple Music: //emelisan.de/Hurtsa Listen on Tidal: //tidal.com/track/65010499 Follow Emeli: Facebook: //www.facebook.com/emelisande Twitter: //twitter.com/emelisande Instagram: //www.instagram.com/emelisande //www.emelisande.com/ //vevo.ly/PkiVJl
Of course, at 15 tracks long, there’s no shortage of saccharine X Factor balladry either. On ‘Tenderly’ she’s joined by her father and cousins (credited as the Serenje Choir) for a song that is meant to reflect her Zambian ancestry yet ends up as prosaic gospel-pop. Others, like ‘Lonely’ or ‘Every Single Little Piece’, are pleasant without ever being impactful: music to pass the morning commute or to add a certain mumsy milieu to the Starbucks queue. Sandé clearly has the chops to stand out in the sophisticated cross-platform arms race of modern pop music – the soaring ‘Shakes’ and ‘Sweet Architect’ are proof of that – but you still wish she didn’t fall back so readily on cliché.