CD Review - Ingrid Michaelson's 'Be OK'

Ingrid Michaelson keeps it sweet and simple.
Ingrid Michaelson keeps it sweet and simple. (By Deborah Lopez)
  Enlarge Photo    
Friday, November 21, 2008


THE TITLE track on Ingrid Michaelson's new CD, "Be OK," is a happy, zippy tune. It's catchy and fun. The rest of the album, a compilation of simple melodies coupled with poetic, smart lyrics and a sweet but strong, flexible soprano voice, is far more melancholy. This is pensive, rainy day music.

This is also a great example of less is more. The songs highlight voice and ukulele or guitar, and a couple of them showcase the sad sound of the cello. The songs are accessible, and Michaelson's voice is most compelling. She is not flashy or dramatic or going for a particular sound. Rather, her voice is real and unforced. She tastefully chooses interesting vocal lines to fit the mellow mood of the songs while impressing listeners with a few vocal flips and gentle high notes.

Many of the lyrics are about love: the scary, serious side of it and the fear of losing it somehow. But the poppiest tune, a live version of "The Way I Am," which was first on Michaelson's breakout album, last year's "Girls and Boys," is sweet. With lyrics such as "I love the way you call me baby and you take me the way I am," it will surely become a wedding favorite.

Michaelson also covers a couple of songs: "Over the Rainbow" and "Can't Help Falling in Love." On a CD with such good original music, the covers are unnecessary, and there is nothing unique about them.

This is a CD of good tunes from a talented singer. Just be careful when you listen to it. It may mellow you out more than you expect.

-- Moira E. McLaughlin

Appearing with Newton Faulkner & David Ford on Tuesday at the Birchmere (703-549-7500, Doors open at 6 p.m.

© 2008 The Washington Post Company