Amy Macdonald
Life In A Beautiful Light


3.0
good

Review

by Davey Boy STAFF
June 12th, 2012 | 45 replies


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Getting comfortable with Amy… Maybe a little too comfortable.

Not that anyone is really interested, but if you discount watching the YouTube stream of the Bonnarroo Music Festival, I did stuff-all this past weekend. Sometimes, the batteries just have to be re-charged... No socializing, no work, nothing... Just getting comfortable in your favorite seat with your beverage of choice and letting the time fly by as you listen to some music and watch some television. Of course, when someone subsequently asks what you did over the weekend, there is always that uncomfortable pause before you realize that you are a lazy ass and answer with “just chilled”. A week later and you can’t even remember the particular weekend existed. It’s kind of like Amy Macdonald’s third LP ‘Life In A Beautiful Light’... It’s nice, it’s comfortable and you may even tell someone to get nicked if they attempt to interrupt you. But when all is said and done, it’s a little too forgettable and subsequently makes you feel as if nothing fruitful has been achieved.

Attempting to find a middle ground between the predominantly upbeat acoustic melodies of her superb debut LP and the edgier, more rock-oriented follow-up, the Scottish singer-songwriter clearly has her heart in the right place here. However, those familiar with Macdonald would already presume that, not being fooled into thinking that the “Tales of the USA” themed opener ‘4th of July’ is an attempt to target a greater audience. If anything, the 24 year old is looking for an inter-generational market in much the same way as Adele has struck gold. Initially, all seems to be on track, with the aforementioned opener, the following ‘Pride’ and lead single ‘Slow It Down’ all galloping along in an upbeat manner, and delivering easily recitable choruses. There are even some steel guitar tones and delayed effects, which hint at an interesting updating of Macdonald’s rootsier beginnings. Unfortunately, it all soon evaporates into an inoffensive and borderline bland heap, with many a latter-half track just floating on by and failing to hold interest.

Since there aren’t a great deal of them, it seems easier to highlight those tunes which do stand out. Arguably the album’s most polarizing track, ‘The Game’ is a rousing number, where Macdonald’s vocals are pushed to stretching point over delayed guitars, horns, strings and piano. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the emotional recount of her grandmother’s battle with Alzheimer’s Disease that is ‘Left That Body Long Ago’ brings an eeriness to proceedings, while hidden track ‘Two Worlds’ is the predictable raw acoustic cut. As always, Macdonald’s voice is simply enchanting, her Scottish accent even lending conviction to clichéd lyrics such as “All my life this is what I was born to do. No sacrifice, I wouldn’t give it up for you”. There is also a reason why the LP is aptly titled ‘Life In A Beautiful Light’, since it is primarily optimistic in mood. Macdonald even finds a positive angle on the infamous Glasgow footballing rivalry on ‘The Green and the Blue’... Doesn’t she know that Rangers are deep in debt and have entered administration?

“I sing from the heart if you listen to me. Everything I do is what I believe”. We believe you Amy, we really do. But the "we" in this instance are already converted fans. Otherwise, many will find 'Life In A Beautiful Light' nothing more than pleasantly worthwhile backing music, which leans too much towards soft-rock... This album may be more The Corrs than The Cranberries! For an artist who has had no filler on her previous releases, the disappointingly uninvolving storytelling contained within, results in quite a bit of it here. Thankfully, Macdonald is such a talented vocalist that she is able to hold it all together... It's almost an effortless performance, which gets back to that word "comfortable". This album just seems too comfortable. "I’ll do anything you ask of me” Macdonald states on 'Pride'. Well, if this lazy ass had his way, it may well be for this prodigy to get a little more uncomfortable. Macdonald is still young, so there is time to right the ship... But her next step may be a little more than interesting; it may be career-defining.

"There's so much more that I could be..."

Recommended Tracks: The Game, Slow It Down & 4th of July.



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user ratings (14)
Chart.
3.1
good

Comments:Add a Comment 
DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
June 12th 2012


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

She's backkkkkk... Album & Avatar-wise.

Please forgive me Amy. A 3 is still "good", you know.

The Deluxe Edition of this album contains 5 acoustic versions plus 3 instrumental versions. But while it's always a pleasure to hear that voice, only the acoustic version of 'Across the Nile' betters the original.


jrowa001
June 12th 2012


8750 Comments


i will still love this probably. good review!

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
June 12th 2012


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Yeah, it's difficult not to enjoy this to some extent Jeff. I guess there is some degree of expectation involved.

And, don't get me wrong, the best half-dozen (1, 2, 3, 5, 8 & 9) are still very good tunes. It's the filler which is disappointing here.

sportfreunde
June 12th 2012


9 Comments


I only listened to it once so far. It sounded nice bu ta bit too bland for me and didn't have some of the aspects of the first one which had a bit more emotion with songs like Youth of Today/Poison Prince/Footballer's Wives. And the singles on the first album sounded better too whereas the one on this one so far (Slow It Down) is good but generic.

Her 2nd album was such a disappointment compared to the first but hopefully this will be better.

She does have a very nice strong voice though and she's not using it to her advantage. There's so many more rock sounding songs or ones that require a bit more passion like in the first album which she would sound good on rather than the light rock stuff.

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
June 12th 2012


31158 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

So is this my fault?

Digging: LV and Joshua Idehen - Islands

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
June 12th 2012


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Yeah, apart from not thinking her 2nd LP was a disappointment, I pretty much agree with everything you state.

'Slow It Down' has definitely grown on me, but it isn't even comparable to 'Don't Tell Me That It's Over', let alone the singles from her debut.

I actually have to wonder if (sub-consciously) the success of Adele hasn't made an impact. They're different type of singers, but still may be targetting the same audience.

And yes Dev, if I had found out about this album in different circumstances, I'm certain it would have been much better. IT'S ALL YOUR FAULT!

taxidermist
June 12th 2012


7203 Comments


Of course, when someone subsequently asks what you did over the weekend, there is always that uncomfortable pause before you realize that you are a lazy ass and answer with “just chilled”.

lmfao so true

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
June 12th 2012


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Yes, observational Davey is in the house today.

Oh & I also failed to mention it was a long weekend down under, so I was 50% more of a lazy ass than usual.

BallsToTheWall
June 12th 2012


44323 Comments


Who's this babe?

Digging: Tiamat - Clouds

Coast
June 13th 2012


213 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Doesn't sound promising but will still check it out as I liked her other albums.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
June 13th 2012


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Blasphemy Balls... She's been my avatar for the past 2 years.

You'll find something to like here Coast... Just not as much as before.

While she doesn't necessarily need all that musical accompaniment, she could have done with it here on more than 2-3 songs.

BigBlob
June 13th 2012


1656 Comments


Amy Macdonald is such a hero. Scotland! Wooo!

Tyrael
June 13th 2012


20876 Comments


Why haven't you reviewed This Is The Life yet man

but it's good to see you reviewing something that I might actually like

Digging: Darkspace - Dark Space III I

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
June 13th 2012


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Amy is right up there with William Wallace as a Scottish hero.

Ehh, my sound-off said all that needs to be said Thomas.

Tyrael
June 13th 2012


20876 Comments


Full review or it doesn't count!

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
June 13th 2012


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Staff get electrocuted every time we review a non new release. Why do you think Nick disappears every now & then? He's regaining his ability to walk, talk & think.

Nagrarok
June 13th 2012


8245 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Ah, I was eagerly awaiting your review on this Davey. Shame it's a little dissapointing, but I'll be listening to it no doubt.

fish.
Contributing Reviewer
June 13th 2012


21929 Comments


Hottest thing to come out of Scotland, yummy

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
June 13th 2012


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Definitely still worth a listen Nag. There's always the album cover if you get bored.

You reckon Fishy... I thought you were into those Proclaimers twins!

phishing
June 13th 2012


395 Comments


"Hottest thing to come out of Scotland, yummy"

probably (unfortunately) right..



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