Already an apparent dead cert for success following her 2012’s Brits Critics Choice, Emeli Sandé finally releases her debut album, nearly six months after her first single caught people’s attention. Sande has been steadily building her profile over that period, collaborating with Chipmunk, Professor Green and Tinie Tempah, as well as song-writing for Leona Lewis, Susan Boyle, Cheryl Cole and Alesha Dixon. Given the variety of these acts, it was interesting to see what direction she was going to take on the album.
Sadly, that’s where the interesting element ends, with the few great upbeat R&B tracks drowned out by a lot of ballads. Frustratingly, Sandé has all the raw materials – a proven track record as a songwriter and a beautiful, powerful, soulful voice. All these are evident on songs like ‘Heaven’, a slice of 90’s hip-hop R&B complete with a string section or ‘Daddy’ a catchy big beat production. ‘Clown’ could nearly be a pop at the record company and the direction the album is going in ‘I’ll be your clown/On your favorite channel/My life’s a circus-circus rounding circles/ I’m selling out tonight’.
‘Maybe’, ‘Suitcase’ and ‘Breaking The Law’ are all beautiful songs taken in their own right, but lumped together they bring the tempo right down and it all starts to sound a bit samey. Piercing this darkness is the gospel influenced ‘Next To Me’, even more joyous in these surroundings, but buried underneath a deluge of beige noise. Disappointingly Our Versions Of Events is a safe play from a potentially great talent.