Emeli Sande ‘Our Version of Events' (Virgin)
Emeli Sande made a name for herself long before her album, “Our Version of Events,” was released in the U.S. last week. The Brit Award-winning powerhouse vocalist has already enjoyed critical and popular success in England since her album dropped there in February.
The American release, though long overdue, features a new song not found on the original release, “Wonder,” which has an eclectic, almost tribal arrangement and demonstrates the full power of her voice.
“Our Version of Events” is pretty standard for a pop album. It has power ballads, most notably “Mountains,” which has a haunting effect by combining her voice flawlessly with a somber string arrangement. The album also features more upbeat songs. “Daddy” is a fantastic throwback to R&B all-girl groups of the '90s (think TLC meets Destiny's Child) with a more modern twist.
What sets her album apart is her overall consistency. Her album is not just a collection of potential singles with filler songs. It is cohesive and consistently good from track to track, which is why she's been making strides in the music business in Britain.
Until now she's been a well-kept secret among American British music lovers and music critics. She's doing what every British powerhouse before her has done — testing the waters in America and trying to achieve international success.
This has been done with varying success. Kate Bush and Kylie Minogue were unable to do it, while Adele and Amy Winehouse seemed to achieve success effortlessly. Sande finds herself in an opportune situation.
Her album, which she co-wrote and produced, showcases classiness comparable with Beyonce with an undercurrent of attitude similar to Rihanna.
When you pair that with her flawless voice and dynamic lyrics, she's virtually unstoppable. It could be argued that she's too similar to already established artists and there is not any room for her to achieve success here. Adele was able to take American Top 40 radio by storm because she had something other American artists lacked.
Sande might not be bringing anything groundbreaking to the music scene. But her debut album is a solid effort that demands your attention from the first track to the final note.
Maybe there isn't a place in American music for Sande, but with her first album, she makes a place for herself.
— Conner Rohwer