“My love is the bomb and forgiveness is the rocket”

Emeli Sande has commanding, effortlessly perfect vocals and lyrics that demand to be consumed, to be understood; there is no multi-tasking when you listen to her content, the very act is a practice in being present.

Long Live the Angels, Sande’s 2nd studio album is a complete and magical work of art. There is no telling how she’s able to move and inspire the listener without lifting a finger. Perhaps it is the way she surrenders herself wholly to the music, how through that surrender, she’s able to take full control of it. But really, there is no telling.

The album consists of 18 tracks from the Scottish singer. Each track is pure with sentiment that whether relatable or not is deeply felt. Emeli is not afraid to bleed, to reveal her wounds and scars and she is not afraid to unleash the powerful force that results from her recovery. This is what listening to her feels like: she is an unstoppable force of nature.

On the fourth track, ‘Hurts’, Emeli juxtaposes love and pain, a contradiction that’s poured out of her with an almost spiritual rigor.

“Baby, I’m not made of stone, it hurts…”

One of the strong points of this album is just how well Emeli performs on the acoustic records. There is that conversation with instruments that Baldwin describes in his short-story ‘Sonnys Blues, the unheard exchange between the artist and the instruments. Here, Emeli leads and the instruments follow and it is on her track ‘Give Me Something’ that this is most evident. Emeli has the unique ability to beg without bowing, without taking a position of weakness.

“Please give me something, I can believe in…

I fell in love with fear, please God forgive me

Have mercy on me, it’s not easy here”

On ‘Garden’, Emeli provides the vocals to the 4-minute poetic track that features the American Hiphop Artist Jay Electronica. Jay’s rap verses have little difference from written poetry and contain imagery that attempts to define the eternal conundrum that is “love”. This track ends with a soothing spoken word piece by Aine Zion who complements the tracks quite nicely.

Sweet Architect, the 11th track on the album is another of Emeli’s soulful renditions, figuratively referring to a spiritual entity or perhaps a lover. Emeli calls on to this ‘architect’ to rebuild the dilapidated, the ‘heavy bones’.

Oh sweet architect, my bones are heavy and my soul’s a mess

Come find my Address, build me up, build me up

Oh sweet architect, I’ve been lonely since the day you left

Come find my Address, build me up, build me up

Part of what makes Emeli a powerful artist is just how calmly she addresses controvertial social and political subjects. On This Much is True, the last track on ‘Long Live the Angels’, Emeli shares her perspective on some sharp unresolved subjects like how children are raised, the philosophical crisis that fuels attachment to social media, and uses love, the preferred theme for her music, as the remedy to this crucible.

Can’t trust the politicians

Too many channels on the television

Our Children dance like they’ve seen it all

I went on the internet and I got myself a thousand friends

Funny No one ever seems to call

I can’t stress it enough, this album is a quality project and it shows through Emeli’s patient delivery on each track, she doesn’t rush nor attempt to impress, and that’s, in more ways than one, a reason to give her album a listen.