Sharon Den Adel - My Indigo
Somber / Folk / Pop
10 songs (38:43)
Release year: 2018
Reviewed by Ben

First off, I'm gonna tell you what this album thankfully ISN'T. This is not a shitty, rushed, half baked acoustic album. Surprisingly, this is also not a more traditional folk inspired album the way that many people, myself included, believed it would be. Those of you hoping for a return to Mother Earth will be left waiting for that particular train just a bit longer. Since being released a few years ago other reviews for My Indigo has this being described mainly as a "pop" album. While that may be a competent descriptor, it falls pretty damn short in every other way in truly describing what's going on with this release.

While not completely bereft of ballads, My Indigo is rather somber and reflective without being too overbearingly boring. Out of ten tracks only about two are full on ballads. The majority of the tracks here begin with a lilting intro and gentle instrumentation. If you were to listen to the first say, fifteen seconds of every song you might think that this is a ballad fest but it is not, I assure you. What is really cool about My Indigo is that there is a huge swath of varying instrumentation and sounds used to create a backdrop for Sharon's god tier voice. Booming, cavernous drum sounds, scant acoustic guitars, slightly subtle electronics, Mexican mariachi trumpets, strings, flutes, voice effects, and dance beats are all incorporated in these ten songs. That's just the instrumentation. When it comes to The Voice of Sharon and the reason for this album, well, she seemingly strikes gold trying out any and every technique she wants to. She's been singing for years and knows her voice very well. This isn't a vocal histrionics showcase album, she goes for emotional response more than anything else. There's quiet parts, soaring parts, delicate falsetto, and lots of vocal inflections.

My Indigo opens with the titular song and for the briefest of bits you might be worried about this being a primarily acoustic guitar driven record. Very quickly, these thoughts are dispelled when the chorus kicks in and there's strong "Neo-Folk" influences. e.g. folkish melodies but using modern synthpads. There's also very reverby vocals going off in the chorus and big booming drums for some Enya vibes. Crash And Burn is extremely interesting musically. Lyrically, this is about being an observer to someone's self destructive life. The Mexican mariachi horns I mentioned are here to provide a lonely, haunting backdrop to the lyric content. Almost as if they were funeral horns. On the other end of the emotional spectrum is the extremely danceable Black Velvet Sun that has strings and Sharon whistling like this is Sound Of Music or some crazy shit. But it works! She also does some cool rapid fire verse delivery that she hasn't done on other albums that I know of. Near the end she starts doing this sliding technique with her voice that sounds like she's plucking the high note out of the air. Along with the local yokel whistling comes more "Neo-Folk" vibes with those drum beats and violins. Where Is My Love starts off a bit scary. Any song with "My Mama said," brings an unfortunate lightning bolt of Mama Said from Metallica into my brain, and I grit my teeth and wait for the asspain to dissipate. Much like the title track, these pains are quickly swept asunder as the track begins to open up. Very modern sounding "filtered" vocals in the chorus bring this back round as well as Sharon's really great delivery in the pre-chorus. Indian Summer is what could be called an experimental song. Tribal beats, auto tuned vocals, plus Indian flutes and Sharon's voice make this a highlight.

My Indigo is pretty much on a level that solo albums aspire to be but the vast majority don't quite reach. Sharon Den Adel has definitely put a ton of time and attention into this album. This isn't her retreading familiar ground, this isn't a lesbian seagull acousti-pop record, and this has her experimenting in all kinds of ways. Having the benefit of hearing Resist before this, I can see how some of her vocal techniques were spawned from My Indigo. While she does use her voice in many cool and exciting new ways there is nothing here that would scare any fan of hers away. If you like Sharon Den Adel's voice, you will really like this album. If you like Within Temptation, you will most likely really like this album. If you are new to Ms. Adel through this release, well, you have alot of catching up to do.

Killing Songs :
My Indigo, Indian Summer, Crash And Burn, Black Velvet Sun, Safe And Sound
Ben quoted 88 / 100
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