Emeli Sandé’s ‘Long Live The Angels’: Review Revue

Rachel Sonis | November 11, 2016 2:42 pm

Emeli Sandé dropped her highly-anticipated second studio album Long Live The Angels today (November 11). The LP boast 15 tracks, which includes previously-released numbers like the fiery “Hurts” and the poignant “Garden,” featuring hip-hop recluse Jay Electronica and poet Áine Zion. It’s a striking collection of tracks and one that also marks a new era of complete awareness and confidence for the Scottish singer.

“I’ve learned that it’s not bad to be selfish sometimes,” she said in a recent interview with The Fader. “I always thought that that was the worst thing you could be. But if you keep giving yourself all the time, and depleting yourself, then you’re no use to anybody. Self-love and respect are the biggest lessons I’ve learned — saying what I mean, not censoring myself.”

And indeed, it is an extremely raw, personal piece of work. But what did the rest of the Internet have to say? Head below to see our roundup of all the best takes on Sandé’s latest project.

:: The New York Times review noted that Sandé sounded “uncluttered and strong”: “Her return is lucid and uncluttered, placing all the expressiveness of her voice at its center. Ms. Sandé could easily oversing; she has delicacy, volume, graininess, melismas and sly, rhythmic nuances whenever she needs them. But she inhabits her songs rather than overpowering them.”

:: The Telegraph gave the LP a 5/5, raving “A smooth soprano with rich, bassy undertones, she builds up songs from tender intimacies to lung-bursting exultation. The tempo is often slow, the arrangements scaling from acoustic starkness to towering walls of sound. Pop is full of broken hearts. Indeed, that is the terrain of the other Adele. But Long Live the Angels is something special, the sound of a gifted, grown-up singer-songwriter using all the tools at her disposal to put her own heart back together.”

:: Likewise, the International Business Times gave the album a glowing review: “Sande seamlessly weaves in-between depicting her heartache through beautifully-written lyrics and spine-tingling vocals.”

:: NME, on the other hand, was not as impressed: “Sandé clearly has the chops to stand out in the sophisticated cross-platform arms race of modern pop music – the soaring ‘Shakes’ and ‘Sweet Architect’ are proof of that – but you still wish she didn’t fall back so readily on cliché.”

::  The Guardian echoed those sentiments: ” If anything, parts of this album creep even closer to the middle of the road: whisper-to-a-scream ballads such as Happen are interesting only for their vastness.”

:: AllMusic rounded things off, saying “Sandé sings with more precision and force without overselling anything. There’s also more nuance to her approach, as in ‘Lonely,’ where the line ‘Baby I’m outta here’ is sung twice in a row, first with resolve, then with a deep ache. Certain listeners might bemoan the shortage of uptempo belters here, but one attentive and thorough listen presents a clear justification.”

Stream the album below.

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