Ingrid Michaelson

Ingrid Michaelson


The female singer/songwriter tradition is alive and well. Ingrid Michaelson’s music may be well known from Old Navy commercials and Grey’s Anatomy, but she isn’t just a set of hands on the piano and a voice. Ingrid rejects the tedium that can sometimes crop up in the genre. Through musically diverse songs (with elements such as strings to electronics) and her strong lyrics and vocal ability tying the music together, she adds her own flair to the tried-and-true singer/songwriter territory of romantic relationships.

Ingrid Michaelson seems to know all too well the painful side of relationships. A wave of destructive energy flows through Human Again, her latest album, as many of the songs are about coming to grips with the effects of a broken relationship. She’s quite eloquent on the subject, and it makes for lyrical explorations, often illustrated through metaphor. “Ghost” is about the lack of volition and feeling left after being hurt in a relationship (I’m a ghost/Haunting these halls/...And I’m lost), whereas “In The Sea,” is about being thankful for the ability to feel at all, even if it is pain.

However, Ingrid is able to transform that energy as well. Human Again also explores the positive ways destructive energy can work on us as well. Songs such as “Fire” and “Palm of Your Hand,” deal with destructive energy for deconstruction, a means of clearing the way for creation. Human Again’s lead track “Fire” illustrates the fine line well:

Heart attack up your sleeve
You can make me believe
I would grow from the ground
After you burn me down
I'm walking in a fire with you
You burn me up, you burn me up
And I love it

Is she being hurt by the fire, or being ignited with creativity and growth? There are grounds for both interpretations. Not many musicians acknowledge this creative side of destruction, something that makes Ingrid’s music unique and refreshing. This renewal and re-creation is a vital part of Human Again as well, giving the album space for restoration and hope as well. Perhaps “Keep Warm” gets at the hope present on her album best with the lyrical chorus:

And it’s cold outside
And I’m just fine
You are mine
To keep warm

Even with the pain, it looks like Ingrid is doing just fine.

- Jacqueline Ristola

Calvin Performances

  • Nov 6; 8pm, CFAC
    $30 public; $15 w/Calvin ID

Past Performances

  • Oct 1; 8pm, CFAC
    with Sugar + the Hi-lows
    $25 public; $10 w/Calvin ID