"We'll say life is a song and it's one you could whistle
And dance to"
Elisa Toffoli is an Italian singer who has spent most of her recording years singing in English. Incredibly enough, she's made quite a name for herself doing so in her native Italy, and a few years back, her song 'Dancing' first hit U.S. airwaves after a performance on "So You Think You Can Dance". While "Steppin' on Water" may be her seventh album overall, it's one of the few released for the U.S. market (alongside 2008's "Dancing") and therefore features several songs that have already gained life outside North America.
This "project", as the disc is categorized, is a mish-mash of songs that Elisa has either recently recorded, re-recorded with English lyrics, or re-done from their original versions. It begins with new tune 'Love is Requited', a fairly gentle pop/acoustic song featured on the soundtrack of "Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You". Perhaps the only other song like it on the record is 'Nostalgia', which was relased to a fair amount of success in Italy about a two years earlier.
Other previous hits are 'So Much of Me', which was big in its Italian form 'Gli Ostacoli del Cuore' and 'One Step Away' (previously recorded as 'Eppure Sentire'), which has been given an updated treatment with newer English lyrics. There are also some tracks Elisa had recorded for her "Ivy" acoustic album, including 'Fresh Air' and 'Forgiveness', both of which are enchanting, especially the latter.
For those who loved 'Dancing', it's featured here as a bonus track, recorded from a concert. Though it's in a different key than the studio version, the live one is amazing as well, perhaps even more emotional and touching for its simplicity.
What strikes me about Elisa is not just her way of arranging songs - some of these have been through multiple incarnations and sound great no matter the form - but her incredible lyrics. English is not her first language, and while some of these were penned by others, she wrote quite a few herself. When this poetry is combined with her delicate voice, it creates a beautiful combination that can take your breath away.
If you're looking for something completely different, a beautiful voice and delicate lyrics, a spell that weaves around you and makes you appreciate stripped-down music, this is the perfect album for you. Sure, some songs are stronger than others ('Apologize' makes me cringe) but in its entirety, it's a patchwork to a stunning quilt.