Mary Lambert: “Heart on My Sleeve” Album Review

Written By: Edward Ramjuse from Kenya

Heart on My Sleeve was released on the 14th of October in 2014 by Capitol Records. Mary Lambert must have really given a lot of thought to the title of the album. The title of the album was a clear description of Mary Lambert’s work as a musician and a poet. After its release the album turned out to be more of a resemblance to the beautiful melodies of Sara Baireilles far from elusive but elliptical music from Tori Amos.

The album was a great shift from Welcome to the Age of My Body, this was a surprise to many fans of Mary Lambert. But still the heart of the record was the sweet mature melancholic adult contemporary music that is easy to understand to many. From the album it was clear that Mary had put an extra effort on the melody and a new feel over art and angst. All these combined produced a debut album that went down smoothly.

Mary opened Heart on My Sleeve album with the following lines, “I’ve got bipolar disorder/ My shit’s not in order” that were on the lead single Secrets. This was more like an open declaration by Mary that no material can be deemed to be too sacred or personal. These personal confessions are further lifted into realms of bouncy by the tone and tempo of the song. As you listen to the song you can’t fail to note the 4/4 beat that is accompanied by a hand clap/ thigh clap pattern. To add to the musical creativity joyful horns were remixed with the other beats. In short it’s an amazing window down radio pop. I loved the funny finishing of the song where Mary finishes the song with a raucous giggle, which follows an opera like aria.

Her second track in the album is “So Far Away”, to me this track seemed more like Kelly Clarkson and brought me back down the memory lane and reminded me of those music tracks I loved listening to when I was 13. The lyrics though depressing were perfectly matched to a bouncy melody that any teen could be able to sing along to.  Her third track was named Ribcage and featured Angel Haze and KFlay. The song was able to construct a satirical metaphor and effectively shows Mary’s physical and emotional openness.  “Everybody look around/I don’t know how to fill the space/The invitation’s on the page/Open up my rib cage.” from the lyrics you can see that Mary has a certain degree of sensuality in her writing. To her sexual desire and devotion are always registered viscerally.

The songs in the album all had a variation that was clearly visible at the opening of each song sentiment. You could literally sense Mary’s feelings are intense and are contained in her body but still I could not help but nod along to all the tracks as I continued comparing the album to the early 2000s female artists remembering my childhood memories. The album is indeed a must have.

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