Album Review: Imelda May - Life Love Flesh Blood | Redbrick | University of Birmingham

Album Review: Imelda May – Life Love Flesh Blood

Imelda May's new album is a masterpiece, says Zoe Screti

When I spoke to Imelda May in December, she promised that her forthcoming album would be the rawest yet. She has certainly kept that promise.

With a strong, human heart that beats, bleeds, breaks and heals, this album perfectly personifies every aspect of life and the various trials and tribulations it throws in your path. From heartbreak to nostalgia, this album covers the spectrum of human emotion almost entirely, meaning there is a song to suit any situation or mood. Whether you’re after something hopeful or something a little more melancholy, you’ll be able to find exactly what you’re after with this album.

Breaking free of her rockabilly image, Imelda May has also broken free of any single genre, producing an album which blends jazz, soul, blues, rock and gospel in an evocative and beautiful way. This variety of styles means that every new song on the album is an unexpected delight- nothing feels standardised, everything is liberated and unique. The overall album is well polished and magnificently produced, as would be expected when considering it was produced by the legendary T Bone Burnett. Never have Imelda’s vocals sounded stronger or more rounded, and it seems that taking a step back from rockabilly to explore other musical avenues was a good decision. Quite simply, this album is musical mastery of emotion at its finest.

Her previous albums have proven that Imelda May has a strong and powerful voice, yet this album reveals a vulnerability not yet witnessed. There is something more raw and honest about her vocals on this album that has often been hidden in May’s previous work. This perhaps demonstrates Imelda May’s personal growth and mastery of her craft, being able to hone her vocal talent to produce shades of emotion rather than just strong and beautiful sounds.

Complex, deep and emotional, this is certainly an album which stays with you long after it finishes.
The emotion which pulses through the veins of this album begins with ‘Call Me’ and ‘Black Tears’ which are heart wrenching, goosebump inducing tracks saturated with melancholy. This then gives way to a sense of hopeful naivety in ‘Should Have Been You’ and the country twang of ‘Sixth Sense’. A particular highlight is the concluding track ‘The Girl I Used to Be’, which gives the album a sense of unity and wholeness, concluding the emotional journey with a reflection on what has come before. This sense of unity and wholeness is something rarely achieved by artists. It is as if this album is a novel, each song a new chapter which forms one complete, honest, emotional story. Complex, deep and emotional, this is certainly an album which stays with you long after it finishes.

This is the perfect album to escape into. Curl up somewhere cosy, and be prepared to feel Imelda May’s emotions as if they were your own with this honest, beautiful and musically masterful album that will almost certainly become a classic.

Masters student studying Early Modern History. Lover of all things rockabilly/vintage. Life & Style Editor (@zoescretimusic)


22nd April 2017 at 10:00 am

Last Updated

22nd April 2017 at 1:05 pm

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