Be Ok by Ingrid Michaelson

July 8, 2016
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Ingrid Michaelson’s Be Ok is like a floury confection: charming, darling, and very sweet. Her little voice has surprising power and beauty, as it shapes itself into the all of the memorable jewels of the album. One such song is “Be Ok,” the leading track and an earthy approach to healing; classics like “Over the Rainbow” and “Can’t Help Falling in Love” fit right in as well. There’s an overwhelming feeling of sweetness throughout the album, loving or bittersweet, which collide over strumming guitar chords and layered vocals. Even seemingly simple songs hold weight as we stumble through her heart.

The simplest songs are often the most beautiful. The gentle “The Chain” layers voices over Michaelson’s flawless soprano, brilliant as a little bird. Michaelson’s ability to transform her voice is one of the privileges of listening to the album. It’s so sweet, and warm, and all her. “Giving Up” is a down-to-earth, personal little melody, and “Oh What A Day” takes us above the clouds, where Michaelson’s voice is solo against guitar and ukelele.

Specific colors can be seen in Michaelson’s loving, inkstained collection of songs. Everything from watercolor blue, green, to a dribbling river can be seen in “Lady in Spain,” a song that bobs like a boat on water. Michaelson’s lonely voice is romantic and picturesque, accented with plucked strings, as she weaves together love hidden in the scenery. Meanwhile, in “Keep Breathing,” Michaelson’s voice rises like the quiet storm she describes. Notes shower from the piano like rain. In that way, her songs have a quiet intensity about them that can’t be ignored.

Her quirkiness also shows affection. It’s wonderful, and endearing; in “The Way I Am,” a catchy, quirky, understated ballad, the vibrato from her voice transforms into love. Even her stripped-down renditions of “Over the Rainbow” and “Can’t Help Falling in Love” feel like songs of her own, and are cozily fitted into the album. Finally, “You and I” is a cheery, bright little duet that builds into a stomp-worthy anthem. Michaelson invites us into her world of acceptance, heartbreak, and change, but mostly, of love. We’re going to be ok.

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