Falling Into an Imogen Heap

Sometime in 2005 I bought a song by Imogen Heap called “Hide and Seek.” I listened to it a couple times and forgot about it. For some unknown reason, it didn’t catch me. I actually forgot about it so completely that I didn’t realize I owned it when I tried to purchase it again this summer, when I fell in love with the song. I thought iTunes was making a mistake when it warned me that I already owned it, and I ignored the warning and spent another buck on the song.

It was a buck well spent, though. The song is as harmonically lush as a thick green garden, filled by Imogen’s vocals and vocoder. Every time I listen to it I’m moved by the shimmer, the passion, the sparse landscape of it, like some kind of angel. I’ve been nearly moved to tears by it on at least one occasion, and I can’t say that about very many songs. Especially not songs for which the lyrics mean almost nothing to me, and I admit I have no clue what this song is “about.” The complex, surprising chords, the swooping flange, the masterful pacing and super-wide dynamic range, those are the lyrics. They push me around.

After listening to this song over and over, I noticed one striking thing about it: the levels of passion in this song are truly off the charts, but they’re not unique in the kind of emotions they bring out. I was able to think of one other song that evoked that same kind of reckless abandon in its passion: “Let Go” by Frou Frou (probably recognized by most from the Garden State Soundtrack).

Some of you music lovers out there are saying “Aha!” right now, but it took me awhile. I finally noticed that the voices in both songs were similar and looked it up, and it turns out the two songs are written by and sung by the same person, Imogen Heap. So I guess this entire entry, oversimplified, is just my way of saying that I absolutely love Heap’s passion and abandon in her music, and I intend to be a fan of that aspect of her music for a long, long time. The strange part is that I don’t own the rest of her work. Just those two songs. I guess I’m a little afraid to confirm that she could never create more than two songs like these, and part of me would almost rather not know if those two songs are really the limit of what I’ll enjoy in her work.

Still, I’ve gotta give in sometime. Something tells me I’ll know the answer soon enough.

4 Comments

  1. Posted December 29, 2006 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    Gos bought her album and really likes it. He used to play it in the car a lot a few months ago. Her website and myspace site has full length tracks that you can listen to. My favs (in no particular order) Headlock, Goodnight and Go, Speeding Cars, and Hide and Seek. OK, Hide and Seek is my favorite mostly because of dynamics and layering.

  2. Posted December 29, 2006 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    I bought the Speak for Yourself CD at some point, and have to say since you like two songs, you’ll probably like the whole album. The songs vary in style quite a bit, but they’re all rather complex combinations of sound. I don’t know if you ever listen to non-lossy-compressed music, but if so this is one of the ones that I’d really recommend the CD over buying compressed tracks.

  3. Gos
    Posted December 29, 2006 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

    Just a note on the CD vs iTunes option here: Speak For Yourself was one of the Sony/BGM CDs that contained spyware and resulted in a lawsuit. They might have released a spyware free version of the CD by now, but just be careful. iTunes might be the better option just to be safe.

  4. Posted December 29, 2006 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

    I noticed that when I went to see if I could find when I purchased it (I think I purchased it locally), so it’s apparently still on the new ones. My disc ripped without any problems on both OS X (iTunes) and Linux (grip), so I didn’t even realize it had any junk. Of course I can’t find it anywhere on the case (although I apparently misplaced the outer sleeve), and it has the CDDA logo, so maybe they produced a non-DRM one and then added it again. It’s horrible that this is even a concern though.