Imogen Heap, Ellipse, Anti Records, 2009
By Dana McCall
Imogen Heap’s new album evokes such a variety of emotions in her listeners that pushing the pause button seems impossible. This multitalented musician from London has certainly created a place for herself around the world. From her name to her look to her music, this 31-year-old songstress is the prime example of an individual.
Imogen Heap’s music integrates the styles of electronic, indie, ambient, rock, and pop. Imogen Heap was successful in cultivating all these genres into a rhythmical and distinctive third album Ellipse, which was released on Aug. 25, 2009. Her first album since 2005, it ranked within the top five albums on five different global music charts, including a number five spot on the Billboard Top 200 album chart. It surpassed her two previous albums in musical caliber and fan reception.
Her highly popular 2005 hit single, “Hide and Seek,” won her much success, not to mention fame. I automatically gravitated toward similar songs on the new album like “Canvas,” in which Imogen Heap’s voice is recorded over a chorus of lower-key singers creating a melody and harmony that is perfectly synchronized. Her expansive vocal range is showcased in songs like these.
“First Train Home” is a catchy tune with an ambient tempo and includes a desire to escape. She writes, “I want to run in fields, paint the kitchen and love someone/ no I can’t do any of that here can I?” The speak-singing and ridicule used in her unshakeable “Bad Body Double” are displays of Imogen Heap’s sarcasm and striking sense of humor.
The album reaches its crest with the song “Earth,” which trademarks Imogen Heap’s vocal and musical style. As in many of her songs, she utilizes ‘human instruments’ to create a complication of diverse sounds.
With talent, musical variety and brazen wit that gives this album a wonderful uniqueness, Ellipse is hailing great success. Would I say that Imogen Heap is a household name? Maybe not yet, but this album is paving the way toward a comfy place in stardom.