Friday, May 16th, 2014

Imogen Heap – Me the Machine



Iain Mew: It’s a similar meditation on technology becoming embedded in our emotional lives to “Telemiscommunications”, and nearly as skilfully minimal as that was. But this is the happier, more mischievous mirror of that song. It’s less sharply detailed, but bubbling with enough thrill of possibility for it not to matter, and who knows what the future has in store anyway? It’s the sort of song that can fit in lines about “an acquaintance with benefits” and “downloading romance” and I can go along with it.

Mallory O’Donnell: Sometimes you need to listen to that little voice that tells you that this particular iteration of your unique aesthetic might just be a shade too particular and unique for general consumption.

Edward Okulicz: Lush, but overly precious. Not to say the way that Heap’s voice breathily lurches at high notes in the middle of lines isn’t as effective as it’s always been for her, but this comes together as a mere collection of Heap tropes (I like her too much to feel comfortable saying “cliches”) you can tick off a checklist. Just as an example, “Goodnight and Go” threw many of her tricks out there with less fuss and less mess.

Will Adams: After all those high-concept projects that threatened to swallow her songs whole, “Me the Machine” is a triumphant return to form. It’s got its own context — written on “musical gloves” that track gestures and map them to control the music — but it’s still accessible as a song, and it’s gorgeous. “Me the Machine” builds angrily, as if the machine in question is preparing to burst through the song and bound toward freedom. The middle eight is where it all collapses, when the electronics reach their breaking point as Imogen unleashes: “Just want to be a part of it!” The dream, then, is no longer a dream. The machine was human after all, and now it can revel in its individuality. “Me the machine!” cries Imogen as the music dances around her, sounding more human than she ever has.

Megan Harrington: All Apple’s gotta do is add their logo at the end!

Alfred Soto: She has a cult, and the arrangement boasts an attractive density, but if she wants this to sound like a “blip in the algorithm,” I expect metal machine music.

Brad Shoup: Somewhere, Kate Bush is calling tech support and smiling.

Anthony Easton: I am curious about the glove, and how electronics have changed how bodies make sounds, but the conceptual weight of that problem was used to work through a song that is mostly terrible. 

Katherine St Asaph: It’s been a while since I’ve listened to Heap, and her craft’s still clear, but maybe the girl-as-robot song wasn’t the best place to check in. When I need to hear heavy modern machinery, I’ve got The Future’s Void.

Reader average: [7] (2 votes)

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5 Responses to “Imogen Heap – Me the Machine”

  1. We seem to be racking up a lot of >2.00 controversy ratings lately.

  2. It’s true. Kinda rad.

  3. This song is so corny, but it’s low-key; maybe the melody and the cadences are saving this. For me, though, the tech glossary/glossolalia throws out more than a few cute juxtapositions. It’s like an Adult Alternative Kraftwerk, where you have to find the text adorable even if they meant it to be Super Serious.

  4. Kraftwerk sung by Sara Bareilles.

  5. That is such a compelling concept!