Sometimes the best way to change is to stay the same. On Scotland’s Amy Macdonald‘s third album Life In A Beautiful Light, that’s pretty much what she does. The 12-track collection contains mostly mid-to-uptempos that blend her signature folky pop sound with thick production and distinctive melodies. Essentially, following with the same boots as her last two albums.
One thing that does stand out for this record that wasn’t as clear on either This Is The Life (2007) or A Curious Thing (2010) are the lyrics. Amy isn’t a particularly interesting lyricist. Many of the songs take basic themes and present them in expected and already done ways, such as in Pride the chorus is made of “I’d move mountains if you asked me to/I’d swim the seven seas/I’ll be the one to hold your torch again/I’d do anything you asked of me.” Of course, like most Amy songs, it’s presented with her forceful vocals and charming Scottish accent, so all is forgiven.
One thing to always expect from Amy is delivered here and that’s her strong vocals. While some vocalists might change their delivery over albums once finding a comfortable medium, Amy’s vocals haven’t weakened since her debut album, nor has she sacrificed her sound for a replacement such as distracting production or thundering backing vocals. The first single Slow It Down is further evidence of her vocals that strike hard and dig deep, leaving a lasting impression in the same way previous hits like Run or Spark have.
What ultimately makes this album work is that it isn’t Amy attempting to do something that may or may not work out. She’s created a reliable style and presentation of herself with her musical influences and has consistently stayed true to that sound. While not a viable path in most cases, if it’s not broke don’t fix it is a motto that works in Amy’s favour. So while wishing on a falling star might not get her very far, her flavour of folk-pop should continue to propel her anyway.
1. 4th of July
3. Slow It Down
4. The Furthest Star
5. The Game
6. Across The Nile
7. The Days Of Being Young And Free
8. Left That Body Long Ago
9. Life In A Beautiful Light
10. Human Spirit
11. The Green And The Blue
12. In The End / Two Worlds