on 13 July 2005
While you may know Imogen Heap for her contributions in Frou Frou, "Speak for yourself" is the stunning follow-up to her first solo album "I Megaphone". This new album moves away from both her previous projects. "I Megaphone" is darkly electronic and Frou Frou's "Details" is a pop-orientated trip-hop album. In contrast, "Speak for Yourself" is soft, sophisticated, and edged with tenderness yet it maintains the electronic trip-hop vocalised essence that fans of Heap will have come to expect. A vital difference with "Speak for Yourself" is that Heap's classical training shines through more than ever, from piano melodies and classic synths and strings to the exquisite composition of every track. And layered over all this, and entwined into the music, is Imogen Heap's breathy silky voice.
My absolute favourite track is 'Hide and Seek' which was used in The OC's season finale recently. It is a slow harmonised vocal track that communicates a sense of united sorrow and hope simultaneously. It's absolutely beautiful and this one track is enough reason to buy the album!!
Other favourites are 'Clear the Area' in which classical piano leads into an ocean of mellow beats, 'Just for Now' with its layers of luscious vocals, and 'Closing in' which combines moody trip-hop beats with innocent vocals.
All in all, this is a brilliant eclectic album that manages to hold together the funky grooves of 'I am in love with you' and a ballad like 'The Moment I said it'. There isn't a bad track.
Comparisons: Jem, Frou Frou, Goldfrapp, Zero 7 in parts and elements of Archive.
on 15 June 2006
After one track from this album was featured on the finale of the OC's second season, I expeted Imogen Heap to be a name on everyone's lips. However, she's maintained an unfairly low profile to the mainstream music listeners.
Speak for Yourself is a perfectly produced album of original, amazing tracks. Mixing trance, dance, pop, R'n'B with great lyrics I literally had not heard anything like it before.
Goodnight and Go and Headlock are stand out tracks. They stay in your head all day. Perhaps what's most fascinating about this album is its sounds and the music's texture. It's a must buy for anyone pedantic about the way their music sounds.
Give it a go and see what you think. I was, and still am, amazed.
on 23 June 2007
I first heard "Come Here Boy" (from Heap's debut album "I Megaphone") on Ned Sherrin's BBC R4 show "Loose Ends" back in 1998 and I loved it so much that I went out, found the album (the days before Amazon UK) and bought it. It's an album that has grown on me over the years; but the one thing that was apparent back then was that she is an exceptional artist.
As you do when you find something that hits a nerve, I've looked out for a new album over the years. In record stores and on here but since 1998 nothing in her own name. Until one Sunday in April last year, I was in Montreal and it was pissing down with rain and I took shelter in HMV. Soaking wet, all I could do was browse and I didn't really think I'd find anything. But there this album was, newly released and being promoted off the back of the "OC". I bought it immediately and took it back to my hotel and played it for the rest of my stay.
And I haven't stopped listening to it. It's on my iPod, in the car and here on my PC. It really is an amazing album.
So who'll like it? Well enough people has listened to this with me around; from my Russian cleaner, to the Aussie plumber, from my Colombian lodger to the wide range of friends who come for Sunday lunch. People always listen and they always ask - who is that? I can't tell you how many times I've written it down: Imogen Heap.
The thing about Imogen Heap is that she get's it; every track nails the emotion in a way that just makes you stop and think. There's an energy about her work, an honesty and a humour. There's also a universiality here - she's an amazing poet, she understands language and sound and how to play with it. It's also deeply sensual; it embraces, soothes and seduces.
I thought that she was really interesting from her first album but now I just want to know if she can better this. Another reviewer described this as one of the best albums of the 21st century. It's early days but Imogen Heap is doing something here, breaking new ground, that others will come to imitate.
A wish list of ten people around my dinner table? Well she'd certainly be one of them. Imogen - if you ever read this - it's an invitation.
on 2 October 2006
I recently saw Imogen at the Bridgewater Hall in Manchester, she was fantastic, she created all her songs by herself on stage with the help of a few technical gizmos. "Speak For Yourself" is quite possibly one of the best albums of the 21st century. This album overshadows any greatness created on Frou Frou's album or her first record (I Megaphone). Stand out tracks are "Goodnight and Go", "The Walk" and "Daylight Robbery", However every track is flawlessly produced and excellent lyrically. Imogen is a hard artist to compare and contrast with others as she varies from Tori Amos style piano tracks to almost The Knife like rhythems. Definate a worthwhile purchase if you like good music from what i could only describe as the first real 21st century musical artist.
on 8 February 2009
I bought this album after hearing the track Hide and Seek on the radio. It is a great track - unusual and I think probably my favourite from the album. Her music is full of interesting textures and sounds, and Imogen Heap has a very fluid, effortless voice. There are plenty of good, tuneful pop tracks here.
The trouble with the album is that for my tastes she does far too much of what I'd call vocal acrobatics - leaping around the octaves in a fairly frantic manner. Very accomplished no doubt but it gets quite tiresome. I find myself wishing she'd just calm down a bit and adopt a more relaxed style some of the time. The music also has a bit of a tendency to be needlessly frantic, as though Ms Heap feels she needs to cram as much into each track as is physically possible. If she could be a bit more laid back I'd be listening to this CD more often.
on 27 July 2009
Of the many things for which I have to thank Jeff Beck - including the small mater of a lifetime of inspiring guitar and the Live with Jan Hammer album - an introduction to this lady is amongst the highlights. Featured in his wonderful Ronnie Scott's residence and spotted when it was broadcast on TV, Imogen Heap became right away one of those artists you just have to Google: her voice and lyrics were instantly intriguing. These inquiries led, in the first instance, to her great first album, whose anagrammatic title alone (I, Megaphone) confirmed expectations of wit and originality.
Inevitably, the most attention-getting piece she's produced to date is this album's quietly awesome "Hide and Seek," whose deployment of that much-abused device the Vocoder is about the best marriage of human vocal and that technology since David Sancious actually used it as an instrument rather than a gimmick back in the late 70s. The track is actually voice-driven; and what a voice - an androgynous huskiness that can leap up the register with a beautiful fluency. And lyrics worth listening to, as well! not to mention instrumentations and arrangements that are genuinely original. "Hide and Seek" is also available elsewhere in a meditative, chanting, version that would do justice to Sheila Chandra.
In a genre that nowadays tends to lurch between fey pretence and the-latest-crowd-pleasing-ingénue, Imogen Heap stands out starkly and beautifully for her creative intelligence. She's as conspicuously different and musically gifted as Kate Bush was in her day. Check out, for instance, Headlock's "Mic-Check" for a multi-layered, multi-tracked, joyous scat that sits perfectly in the Swingle / Brian Wilson / Bobby McFerrin tradition whilst delivering something fresh and delightful. Meanwhile, here on "Speak for Yourself" there's the lovely "Just For Now" putting that vocal layering to even plusher use.
All the tracks on this album are treasures, but the arc from the funky "Daylight Robbery" to the lyrical "The Moment I Said It" should tell you all you need to know about this lady's range and talent. And having said all that, her music is right there, right away: catchy, groovy, touching - effortlessly great music that's at once pop and deep. Don't hesitate to acquaint yourself with this seriously entertaining lady.
Imogen Heap made her relatively unknown debut with "I Megaphone," seven years back, and went on to become half of the mega-successful indiepop duo Frou Frou. Well, now Heap has returned with her second solo album, an energetic, sharp-tongued pop slice, "Speak For Yourself."
She kicks off with the sparkling music-box melody of "Headlock," which blossoms halfway into a dark pop gem. Nor does it stop there -- it's followed by velvety melodies, swirling instrumentation, energetic hooks scattered here and there. There are even a few balls-to-the-wall rock numbers, like the explosive bass blasts of "Daylight Robbery."
Seven years have changed Imogen Heap's sound, and it's not a change for the worse. When she debuted, her style was kind of Tori Amos, guitar-playing Angry Young Pop Woman. In "Speak For Yourself," she evokes nobody but Imogen Heap.
At first it seems that Heap's acid-flecked style has become softer and more stylized this time -- instead of taunting old bullies and denouncing people who invade her space, she's announcing, "You say too late to start, with your heart in a headlock/You know your better than this."
Don't worry, that sharp edge returns soon enough: "No it's not meant to be like this, it's just what I don't need,/Why make me feel like this, it's definitely all your fault." But the vibe isn't an Angry Young Woman one, but an older, wiser, somewhat sadder one -- hearts have been broken, lovers have lied, but she can still get that explosive rush from new love.
And time has mellowed more than her songwriting. Heap's collaborative band seems to have influenced her style, giving it a trippier sound with plenty of piano, burbling or gritty synth, and tinkling melodies. And Heap's velvety voice soars over it all, able to sink to a breathy whisper or a throaty roar.
With its unbroken stream of swirling pop splendour, and Heap's lovely voice, "Speak For Yourself" is perhaps the best pop album released so far this year. Energetic, expansive, and enormous fun.
on 7 September 2005
I, like many other Amazon reviewers bought this album based on the strength of hearing the song 'Hide and Seek'. I was not disappointed at all by the rest of the album - from start to finish it is captivating in a number of ways: right from the interesting sounds within the production to the upbeat melodies and sometimes haunting lyrics, this album is one of the best treats of 2005!
on 20 February 2007
After listening to nought but the Cocteau Twins for the last two years, I heard Hide & Seek being played by my daughter and was hooked. She did the research and I bought this album. It's difficult to do it justice in a few sentences but long paragraphs make me want to log out so I'll keep it succinct. This album is fresh,original,lyrically perfect and musically accomplished. Imogen does it all herself and I admire that. Electronic instruments, loops, midi etc suffused with acoustic ones and songs which you remember even when your MP3 player is long switched off. I'm addicted....you've been warned! Mark my words, this girl is going to be massive in the next year or two!
on 15 February 2007
I am a huge fan of Imogen Heap's; whether it be i Megaphone, Frou Frou or this amazing album speak for yousrelf.
I would have to say that Speak for Yourself is definitely the best album that i own. Her music has always been fantastic and endlessly inventive, but in this album she really has shown off what she can do with multiple instruments ans synths.
I recently went to see her at the Sage, Gateshead, and was blown away. She was an amazing live performer and she really showed how talented she really is. Her synth and piano work was amazing.
I can't wait for her next album and tour!
CD is well worth the money!!!