Power. Just saying the word gives a sense of strength, with it’s two syllables and strong first three letters. But have you ever seen someone, specifically a singer, give meaning to the word? Sure, there are several artists out there whose voice could lift a 100 pound weight. Some throws javelins, hitting far distances with their holds, and others are pole vaulting, hitting new heights with their vocal range. Sure, there are many artists out there who can do this, but how many could go on a competition show, win sixth place, and still have the power of a heavyweight champion? There is only one I can think of, and that is Ella Henderson.
Haven’t heard of her? If you listen to top 40 radio, then I am almost certain you have heard her first single “Ghost”. Starting off the album, it is a pop song made in Heaven. It has Ella’s soon to be signature vocals going to high places, low places, and everywhere in between. She is all over the place, and it sounds like she is celebrating. What that thing is, I’m not sure, because the song is about wanting to wash away a bad relationship. It is still a good beginning to an even better album, titled “Chapter One”.
Henderson is a talented songwriter. Many of her songs prove this, including “Mirror Man”, with its line, “Mirror man, I wish I could love you like a mirror can!”. The only song that I did not like the lyrics for was one she did not write herself. This was the only one she did not co-write, and it shows. Her heart does not seem to be in the song as much, with her voice not reaching quite its full potential. There are too many ooohs and repetition of phrases throughout the song. The music does not disappoint though, with percussion taking the lead. Most songs are mostly piano ballads, so his song is on a different wavelength than the rest of the album.
“”Pieces” is easily a favorite on the album. This song has a definite climax, starting out quietly and building up into something spectacular. Raw vocals, a tambourine (which I love), and drums give this song its personality. I can imagine this song being on a road trip playlist or waking me up in the morning. The lyrics do not fit the music, with my favorites on the whole album “Right when we live in pieces/ But pieces fall apart”. This song is a win that makes up for any weak spots on the album.
While there are many bright parts of the album, several songs can be somewhat boring. “Missed” and “Five Tattoos” fill those size too small shoes. “Missed” feels like filler, while “Five Tattoos” showcases her vocals and how far she can hold her notes, but just doesn’t cut it. There is not much variation in the vocals and there is no progression with the instruments.
One last song that is one of the highlights is “Rockets”. It starts out as a simple song with a few runs of her voice, but progresses into something marvelous. It is a mix of pop and soul. Snapping fingers and horns puts the song in a league of its own. There is no other song like it on the album. You feel a sense of Ella’s personality shine through.
If this is “Chapter One”, then I can’t wait to read the whole book. With Ella as an author, I can’t seem to put it down. Like a real book, it has its ups and downs, its sore spots and crazy uplifting moments. If you are looking for an artist soaring to new heights, you have found just the right one. Let us welcome Ella Henderson to our music library.