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October 28, 2008

Ingrid Michaelson stumbles

ingrid michaelson

Sun writer Lindsey Citron latched onto Ingrid Michaelson's music.

But Michaelson's new album left a bad taste in Citron's mouth. I think Citron makes some pretty good points. You be the judge. Here are her thoughts:

Does Ingrid Michaelson want to be just OK?

The New York City-based singer/songwriter is probably best known for her singles: "The Way I Am" provided catchy walking music on an Old Navy fall sweater commercial, "Little Romance" debuted on the Sex and the City movie soundtrack, and "Keep Breathing" was featured on the tear-jerking season finale of Grey’s Anatomy.

Recently, Ingrid has been trying to transition from a nothing-to-lose indie singer to a more serious headlining performer ...

ingrid michaelsonWith lyrics as raw and childlike as "Let’s get rich and buy our parents’ homes in the South of France," it's clear she’s got the talent for it. Her songs straddle the fence between being relatable to the point of comfort and giddily absurd.

So the question is, can Ingrid be an occasional one-hit-wonder as well as a serious artist? After hearing her latest album, Be OK, I don't think so.

The single, "Be OK," hit iTunes on Sept. 2, and the album followed on Oct. 14. The final product felt more like a rush job than a completed project. Just over half of the 11 tracks are new or unreleased, and the other five are a random assortment of covers and acoustic versions of her older songs (like "The Way I Am").

"The Way I Am" was compelling when it debuted, and even the second time on the Old Navy jingle. But the fact that she’s recycling her old hits on a new album makes me skeptical.

Even more disappointingly, the track "Be OK" was one of the weaker songs on the album. It lacks her vivid imagery, and the lyrics are nothing new.

You can’t build a song around a line, and you can’t force an album out of a single. Until Ingrid can come to terms with her place in the industry, she will invariably be stuck in commercial-and-soundtrack-limbo.

(Photos by Deborah Lopez) 

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Posted by Sam Sessa at 7:30 AM | | Comments (8)


You can’t build a song around a line, and you can’t force an album out of a single.

Have you heard of Madonna?
Have you heard of Britney Spears?
Have you ever heard of Elvis?

Until Ingrid can come to terms with her place in the industry, she will invariably be stuck in commercial-and-soundtrack-limbo.

Not a bad place to be. I'd like to be there so I can have the time to write, record, and tour with/for my fans until I hit it HUGE again with a one line song.
Am I in no way shape or form an Ingrid Michealson fan, It's just those two sentences were, well, in a word, stupid.

Would you honestly call Britney Spears talented? If I were Elvis or Madonna, I'd be slightly insulted to be held up next to her on a list, but that's just me...

And yes, Michaelson may be gaining fame, but if she's trying to move forward and become more than an artist getting by from hit to hit, commercials and soundtracks aren't necessarily where it's at. Not when it means sacrificing your dignity for a sad attempt at an album.

awesome! This is turning into that thread about the fat Christian singer!

I don't listen too, never bought a song or like anyone on my list of three. Nor did I call any of them talented. Did they make an album out of a single song? Yes. Did they make a career out of a single song/album. Yes.

The last time I checked, the bank doesn't accept dignity in multiples of sad attempts. People are not buying CD's. They are illegally downloading or legally dowloading digital music. Where can an artist go? Why soundtracks, movies and commercials of course. Starting at $30,000, $50,000 $150,000 a pop. If that's 'not where it's at', then I want to be there making that kind of money so I can sit back and write my music. BTW - who's chris sligh?

I'm a musician and if I can get my song on a commercial, I'd like to be where it's not at. Eating a loser's lunch consisting bologna on bologna sucks. Being poor sux. I Ingrid sux, But if I had to take selling out over passing out (due to hunger) I'll take the former. end rant


"an occasional one-hit-wonder", a phrase with an internal inconsistency problem, like being an occasional virgin.

I went listened to "Be OK". An act of intestinal fortitude was to persist in listening to the end. I hope this isn't typical of her other recordings. A rigid performance with a slightly shrill little girl's voice with a bit to much repetition of several lines.

She could learn something from this;
M (Robin Scott) - Pop Muzik:

But in places on some of her other recordings she reminds me of a very early Joni Mitchell, maybe in a few years she will sound more like this,
Joni Mitchell - All I Want:

"Be OK" is NOT Michaelson's next album release after "Girls and Boys" It was merely a project of some of her show favorites. Her next full album is not due out until late 2009. In the meantime she was generous enough to put this project of show favorites together for her fans AND donate a portion of the proceeds to STAND UP 2 CANCER.


Technically this is an album because it collects an array of individual recordings on to one disc or group of downloads, like a photograph album collects a group of pictures into one volume.

To back checked on myself, I referred to

If you want to argue that this isn’t her follow up artistic statement to “Girls and Boys”, you are correct.

Her assembling this for her fans to get this group of selections in one more affordable place is considerate with part of the proceeds going to “Stand up 2 Cancer” is quite laudable,
but “Stand up 2 Cancer” would be bettered served if you just wrote a check and sent it directly to them.

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About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.

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