Leeds Music Scene

Headlock by Imogen Heap

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Reviewed on 30th October 2006.



By Imogen Heap

I have never quite understood why I like Imogen Heap: her unconventional vocals on such tunes as this; plus some slick beats laid down over a mixed backing track of violins and bass lines.

Heap is almost tentative at the start of the song after a seemingly foreboding introduction, as if she's treading on musical eggshells "Distant flickering / Greener scenery... I'm going outside to take it all in" which doesn't exactly make sense, but who said great song writing had to add up? Searching for meaning, I hear Heap making the most of life and rightly imbibing all its beauties in the serene fresh air.

"You say it's too late to start got your heart in a headlock" a sum of all the hopes and fears one feels when in love and faced with Heap's cynical "I don't believe any of it".

Soon, Heap hits me with a summary of why she keeps me returning for more of her mixed-up lyricism as her vocals drop massively in pitch whilst singing the eerie "And you look half-dead half the time"; as the songstress tells of her stalking of a certain person "like machines do". This ability to dress up such a sad act with delicate femininity astounds me.

An energetic instrumental and reiteration of the underlying sceptical and jealous message whets our appetite even more for the high contrast remix [edit].

...and what a mix it is. A fairly heavy beat is laid down behind cut and cropped vocals, the ominous "You know you're better than this" vocals still abound. The mix shows that Heap's music can be manipulated, the vocal arrangements particularly so; yet still retaining the essence of the song which is in this case the laughing at someone supposedly in love. The only criticism I would make is that the most powerful verse, possibly about stalking is hidden amongst the beat. However, I'm contriving a negative out of nothing from a single that's so damn good.



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