Amy MacDonald is that proverbial old head on young shoulders, a Scottish singer-songwriter who writes songs with the grace and wisdom. Influenced by The Libertines and more traditional folk, the eleven songs on This is the Life
combine a traditional, acoustic folk-rock sound with a youthful spirit and self-assured lyrics that veer between the observational and the confessional.
Singer/ songwriter/ guitarist Amy Macdonald may still be a teenager but it’s hard to believe her music will ever appeal to her peers. Like Joss Stone, Macdonald has an old voice on her young shoulders. That’s not to say you should dismiss This Is The Life if you’re under 40, but you will need a more mature ear to relate to Amy’s folk-styled storytelling, grown-up vocal and country-influenced guitar.
The young Glaswegian may be currently heralded as 'the new Katie Melua' but there’s something more Cranberries-esque to her warbling. This is highlighted on her debut LP’s first track, “Mr Rock & Roll”- a radio-friendly, sing-a-long jig, full of Celtic campfire nostalgia. Moving on to the album title track, lyrically Macdonald comes across like a wise 39-year-old as opposed to a naïve 19-year-old, leading you to question the authenticity of her delivery. In other words, the words and tone feel somewhat forced.
Gripes aside, there are some gleaming gems to be discovered on this 11-tracker. “Let’s Start A Band” hears a Mexican cowboy intro makes way for Amy to unleash her emotive tones and brilliant lyrics: 'Give me a stage and I’ll be your rock ‘n roll Queen/ Your 20th Century cover of a magazine/ Rolling Stone, here I come/ Watch out everyone…'. Further notables include the upbeat, brass-heavy roller, “Barrowland Ballroom” and the melodic “A Wish For Something More”- which allows Macdonald to work her vocal to its full range while highlighting her razor-sharp guitar wizardry. The star of the show though has to be down-tempo number “Footballer’s Wife” on which Amy mocks today’s tabloid-fuelled society. --Elle J Small
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