Long Live The Angels is a mesmerising journey through the triumphs and tragedies of the last four years of Emeli Sandé’s extraordinary life. Exultant in its delivery and bold in its intent, the record is steeped in an unreserved sense of freedom and self-discovery. LISTEN HERE
It’s from that feeling of freedom that new single ‘Hurts’ was born, an uplifting track brimming with heart and soul. “This entire album is about me not holding back and not censoring myself, and ‘Hurts’ is an explosion, it’s just…real talk,” explains Sandé.
A lot has happened to Sandé in the four years since the resounding success of her critically acclaimed number one record, Our Version Of Events. Not only was it the biggest selling album of 2012 and second biggest selling album of 2013, but it was also certified 7x platinum, spent seven non-consecutive weeks at No.1 and exceeded The Beatles’ previous record by spending 63 consecutive weeks in the top 10 and selling over 4.6 million copies worldwide. The Aberdonian scored three UK number 1 singles including ‘Next to Me’ which is certified platinum in the U.S., with over 1.5 million singles sold. Sandé has won numerous accolades including 3 X Brit Awards (Critics Choice, Best Album, Female Solo) as well as awards from Q Magazine, Elle, Harpers and GQ. The multi-instrumentalist initially made her mark as a songwriter in the UK urban scene via acts such as Wiley, Wretch 32 and Chip, later becoming a highly sought-after writer for a wide array of international acts including Alicia Keys, Rihanna and Katy Perry.
As 2013 came to a close, Sandé was exhausted and unable to ignore the strain it was putting on a number of close relationships, “Sounds a bit dramatic but I just wanted to disappear. I just had this overwhelming sensation and realisation everything had to stop,” she reflects, “And then slowly it did.”
Recorded in New York, L.A, London and Oxford and available in Standard CD (15 tracks) and Deluxe Version (18 tracks), Long Live the Angels crackles with energy and a sense of euphoria for both listener and artist. Certain tracks may be slower in spirit, but are dynamic in delivery, “I made sure the production wasn’t overworked,” Emeli points out, “And I really went for it vocally!” Sandé’s outstanding voice sits at the heart of the record, underscoring the singer’s mastery of both technique and form but also her natural intuition as a vocalist.
Opening track ‘Selah’, a short poem backed by a choral choir sets the tone, written solely by Sandé during a time of reflection; it’s a powerful and poignant introduction to the album. Next up is the sensational ‘Breathing Underwater’, which Sandé describes as “the ultimate journey in rebirth and self-discovery.” The super stripped back ‘Give Me Something’ is a wondrous take on keeping the faith despite the odds being stacked against you, and the beautifully melodic Shakes is a piano and strings led masterpiece.
‘Garden’ harks back to Sandé’s urban roots, written and produced in London with Jay Electronica, who also features on the track. It’s a reminder that Emeli’s influences are as much R&B and rap as they are singer/songwriter. ‘Lonely’ is a long hard look at love and has the feel of a track made on a summery late sixties afternoon. ‘Sweet Architect’ (Johnny Coffer and Mojam) is the show-stopping centre-piece punctuated by the most remarkable choir.
Towards the close of Long Live the Angels, we witness a jubilant Sandé experiencing the hopes of new possibilities; ‘Every Single Little Piece’ is a stirring mid-tempo ballad, with a huge chorus and soul-stirring strings and the uplifting ‘Highs & Lows’ is a dedication to her family, her history and her heritage.
Long Live The Angels marks a brand new chapter in Sandé’s life, “I’m proud of my first album and thankful for the experiences it gave me. But I’m so much happier with my new album and with where I am in life.”
2. Breathing Underwater
5. Give Me Something
6. Right Now
8. Garden (feat. Jay Electronica & Áine Zion)
9. I’d Rather Not
11. Sweet Architect
12. Tenderly (feat. Joel Sande & The Serenje Choir)