Ella Henderson’s ‘Chapter One’: Album Review

Kathy Iandoli | January 13, 2015 5:30 am
Ella Henderson's 'Chapter One': Listen
Listen to Ella Henderson's impressive debut album 'Chapter One', streaming now.

There’s a reason why Ella Henderson titled her debut album Chapter One (out ), and that’s because this is just the beginning of what is shaping up to be an amazing musical novel. Henderson’s project takes you on an emotional ride, fueled by the UK siren’s powerful vocals.

Chances are, if you’re remotely involved with the Internet, then you may have heard a variation of Henderson’s project, as it already arrived across the pond and charted impressively at #1 back in October. As a finalist on the X-Factor UK, Ella was pretty damn close to the gold, but lost to fellow Brit James Arthur.

Our girl is doing just fine though, as 2014 brought her stateside armed with the solid Ryan Tedder-cowritten “Ghost,” and the still-bubbling “Glow.” The latter sounds like it could’ve fallen right out of Rihanna‘s mouth — only it’s a different umbrella-Ella-Ella we’re under in this case.

Ballads like “Yours” bring emotional poignancy with speaking what you feel (a situation typically reserved for Facebook statuses), while the Salaam Remi produced (and co-written) “Hard Work” epitomizes the phrase “labor of love.”

Other cuts like “Empire” lean on the current Pop standard of thunderous bass lines, but this leads into a beautiful song that rises and falls gracefully. The album is pretty heavy in lyrical content (the deluxe version and UK version are even heavier), which can be to Henderson’s detriment if she wants to carve a career out of the sound of her first single. After all, look what it did to Natasha Bedingfield.

Still, it’s clear that Ella (and Natasha respectfully) has something to say, which is more than most. Chapter One is a step one of sorts for Ella Henderson, carrying the potential for superstar status.

Best Song That Wasn’t the Single: The ’90s R&B-inspired “Mirror Man.” There are pianos, there are “oooh ooohs,” there is Ella singing rhythmically.

Best Listened To: After binging on En Vogue‘s catalog. Obviously.

Idolator Score: 4/5

— Kathy Iandoli

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