Imelda May is a name I have known for a long time now but admittedly, I was unfamiliar with her music. Imelda has been an extremely popular and successful artist over the years within the Rockabilly genre and known for her distinctive Rockabilly stylings visually.
Imelda will be releasing her fifth studio album on April 21st titled Life, Love, Flesh, Blood but for this album, Imelda has decided to take a different direction sonically and I am all for it.
Having spent years producing music in the same genre (Rockabilly) it is perfectly acceptable for an artist to no longer be in the same place musically, personally and emotionally. An artist, just like fans, can change their minds, go through different phases and just grow apart from their previous passions.
In her personal life over recent years, Imelda has been through a lot, so to produce an album where she wasn’t at emotionally wouldn’t have been true to her or to her fans. Imelda, like many artists can only record an album that was honest to their life and experiences and I really respect that. Take a live setting for example, an artist such as Imelda pours her heart and soul to her live performances and if an artist releases music they don’t necessarily believe in, then a performance can become unconvincing.
Life, Love, Flesh, Blood is about as honest an album you can get. The passion, drive, emotion and truth that Imelda puts into this album is both honourable and wonderful. The entire album is almost cinematic with a 1940’s film noir motion picture feel to it. The vibe also sets scenes of a smoky Jazz/Blues bar and has a slight 20’s sound as well as the 40’s.
Call Me – the first single off the album and a good indication of what to expect sonically from the album. The song has such a stunning, emotive, story –telling melody and the lyrics are honest and believable. There are two videos for the song which are featured below and worth checking out. One is set in Paris and in a recent interview I had with Imelda, she says of the song:
It’s funny – I wrote that, started it in Paris and Paris was in that song a lot, and it was the director who decided to bring it to Paris. It was quite emotional for me when I turned up for filming because it was all about when I was there. The director was quite happy about my emotional state because she was like, ‘Great, we can use that really well’. Hahaha, I was like, ‘Thanks very much, you’re trying to kill me! Haha’.
Black Tears – another single and very beautiful song lyrically and sonically. Imelda’s voice is very passionate during this song and her emotion is so raw that you can really feel her pain as she sings each word. Black Tears is drawing on her own experience looking in the mirror crying as her mascara produces black tears.
Should’ve Been You – a more upbeat song with a toe tapping, Jazzy beat to it and a catchy chorus with a really excitable and passionate bridge which really show off Imeldas vocal ability in a very raspy, smoky way.
Sixth Sense – a great track with a mix of 20’s Jazz/Blues blended with the more modernised popular sounding 40’s Jazz/Blues sound. A really lovely song with a calming, steady beat throughout and laid back feel.
Human – one of the more pop sounding tracks off the album and one I can see being released as a single. The chorus has a slight musical theatrical feel to it as the song escalates musically. It has an infectious beat and chorus to it which in a way sounds a little like some of the 60’s songs from artists such as Dionne Warwick and Dusty Springfield.
How Bad Can A Good Girl Be – I can hear an element of old fashioned French music and can picture a café in Paris as I listen to the song. It has a hypnotic melody and vocals to it which really lure you in and in a way seduce you.
Bad Habit – In this song, Imelda is sticking to a slight Retro/rockabilly sound but blended with a more Jazz Pop feel.
Levitate – a darker sounding down tempo song with a mysterious, enchanting feel to it. The song is almost bewitching in its melody and vocals which again are slightly hypnotic.
When It’s My Time – a gorgeous piano driven song with a dash of the original sounds of R and B. Imeldas vocals in this song are deep and powerful and truly melodious. There is a beautiful instrumental segment in this song which is so wonderful to listen to and would be mind blowing live.
Leave Me Lonely – a more electric, rockabily track with a a nice Jazz bass to it as well as Jazz guitar. It is quite a strong song vocally in terms of the way Imelda sings with so much power and energy.
The Girl I Used To Be – one of my favourite songs off the album with a nice traditional folk style to it along with a nice strong Irish sound to it. This song is so stunning and a really inspirational and sweet yet sad story to it. The melody is simply gorgeous and is the perfect song to end the album with.
Imelda has flawless, natural vocals with a real raw, honest, emotional, powerful and a deep, passionate tone that draws from personal experiences and real life.
There are so many close your eyes and breathe in the music moments on this album which transports you into another world and helps you escape from your own reality, even with the emotive and slightly melancholic songs, the beauty in them and the honesty bring some sort of escape. Imelda seems to have a strong connection with her music and pours her life, her heart and soul into this album in such a way that she invites the fans into her world for a while. I admire Imelda for her honesty and bravery to bring her life into words and self heal from doing so. As I have said many times, music is a healer for the writer, singer and the listener.
Imelda has an undeniably strong talent both vocally and in her songwriting and she is incomparable to any other artist.
Life, Love, Flesh, Blood is a compelling, truth telling album which is sophisticated, elegant and beautifully emotive.
Life Love Flesh Blood (Deluxe) by Imelda May
If you want to catch a live show that will leave you feeling speechless, content and awe struck, something tells me that’s what you will get from an Imelda May show. She is touring in the UK in May, details below