Raised in South London, Lianne La Havas is a singer like no other. She proved her talent in her first album three years ago and now she’s back at it with her second studio album, Blood. This album heavily focuses on love, self-identity, and relationships through the use of Jazz and Soul elements.
The album starts of with its first single, “Unstoppable,” released on April 1, 2015. The song enters with airy, soothing sounds approaching louder from the distance, progressing in to a slightly more intense groove of melodies and jazzy flows. Her voice then breaks through the peaceful textures alongside drums to begin an upbeat, creative expression of strength and admiration.
The song makes it known that bad times were experienced in a previous relationship but when enough time passes and emotions have healed, they should take another chance at love. She can’t deny the magnetic pull within the romance and knows that they have the power to great something great – to become unstoppable.
The instrumentals produce a certain type of joyful feeling, characteristic of those who often have a desire of wanderlust. Violin strings and piano keys add a spacy vibe to the song as well. She even throws in a few lyrics that match the mood:
“I was like a satellite spinning away
Almost lost forever and leaving no trace
Floating through the darkest reaches of space
To another galaxy”
Keeping the upbeat vibe, Lianne delivers the second track, “Green & Gold,” with a pure and grateful attitude. This song is all about her self-identity. You will quickly find yourself nodding your head to the beat and smiling without realizing. Inspired by her trip to Jamaica, where her mother’s family is originally from, she wrote this to recognize and appreciate her heritage and family. Green and gold are the colors representative of the Jamaican flag. She also pays homage to her Greek heritage from her father’s family in the reference to “ancient stone.”
With a 70’s soul melody, the album’s second single, “What You Don’t Do,” shows an appreciation for a relationship that isn’t boastful or immature. She’s so confident in the love between her and her man that she doesn’t need any proof. It then all becomes about the things he doesn’t do, like playing games with her heart, that show her how much he loves her.
Lianne’s vocals are really projected in this song, showing her strength in range and delivery. The addition of horns and brass instruments help complete the song and give it a jazzy feel.
“Tokyo” is the fourth track listed on the album. This track delivers a lot of metaphoric lyrics that focus on her feelings of leaving a lover behind, rather than the actual city of Tokyo. You can feel her frustration and loneliness through both the lyrics and instrumentals without it reaching a state of melancholy.
“I’m out of sight
I’m out of mind
Alone in Tokyo
You’re out of reach
Wrong place, wrong time
Alone in Tokyo”
“Tokyo” also slows down the tempo a bit to lead to an easy transition for the more somber track, “Wonderful.” This track reflects on the times of a past love. It’s a song any person can relate to when remembering a passionate love that used to exist.
Once again, the use of the piano and strings successfully evoke the emotion behind her words. Although her sadness is shown within the melody, there’s still a demeanor of appreciation she feels toward the relationship. She knows it was a wonderful experience that just came to an end.
“Midnight” is the sixth track listed and has one of the most R&B melodies of the album. Lyrically, not one of the best on the album but the overall harmony and composition of the song makes you love it anyway.
“Grow” feels like a power anthem for love and the freedom of love. You can also feel the energy in the heavy use of the guitar and her boisterous vocals. There’s passion all throughout the entire song. Each time her fingers pick at the guitar she delivers her own sense of vivacity:
“Turn up the love
Turn up and watch it sing
As we grow
The future we don’t know, know
Unless we’re together, together”
Much like “Grow,” the ninth track on the album, “Never Get Enough,” also provides vivacity in emotion. However, this track is divergent from all the others on the album. The use of the electronic guitar delivers nothing but excitement between the calmer chords wrapped around it. It would have been nice to see this style of song used a little more frequently on the album – or at least in one additional track.
She ends the album on a more emotional note with her acoustic guitar on the eighth track, “Ghost,” and the final track, “Good Goodbye.” Both songs exhibit maturity in character. She shows a more vulnerable side of herself that feels good to release. Both tracks may sound sad but there’s also a calming and relaxing happiness to them as well.
Lianne La Havas’ second studio album truly shows growth from her first album. With more uses of Jazz, R&B and Soul, she shows depth and motion between each track. Her vocals are honest and graceful. She’s quickly defining herself as a powerful singer and passionate woman.
Production score 7
Lyrics score 8
Composition score 7