Emeli Sandé was thrust into the spotlight following the success of her 2012 debut Our Version of Events. The album became the U.K.'s best-selling album of 2012, making the Scottish singer a sensation in both Britain and the U.S. Four years later, Sandé returns with her sophomore album, Long Live the Angels.
On her new album, the singer-songwriter (born Adele Emeli Sandé) lets fans into her heart and spirit; following a painful and public divorce from marine biologist Adam Gouraguine. Recorded in various studios across England, Sandé wanted the album to reflect what she's been through.
"[Long Live the Angels] is such a personal growth for me," she told the Boombox. "I really needed the support and encouragement from my sister and my family – just people that would coach [me] through a big time in my life."
But the growth that is so prevalent throughout the 15-track project are not the only subjects covered on ...Angels. The results of the U.S. presidential election seem to indicate that times are about to change for everyone across the world; and the 29-year-old singer looks to love and tenderness on songs like "Tenderly" and "Babe" to let people know it's fine to cry but we just might be okay.
"I feel like, from the last album to now, the world really has changed quite a lot," Sandé says. "And I want to encourage people to still be real about their feelings and to still be honest and still believe in love and doing good things because [that] almost feels dis-encouraged now."
What's not discouraged is good music. Here are our five favorite tracks from Emeli Sandé's new album.
Produced alongside the U.K. DJ/producer Naughty Boy, "I'd Rather Not" is a somber yet empowering ballad that tells the story of a girl mustering up the strength to leave the things of her [love] life behind and move forward with a fresh start.
Reminiscing over a tumultuous relationship, the near-four-minute single opens with the descriptive tale of the 29-year old singer's story.
"You went in straight for the jugular/That's what I got for just lovin' ya/Arrows and bullets flew/Your tongue loves war in the afternoon/Your favorite bomb was let's just be friends/But now you're suggesting we try again."
As the hook drops, she bellows, "If it's all the same to you/As much as I'd love to/I'd rather not/I'd rather not have my heart blown to pieces again."
It's the story of love gone bad, and the strength it takes not to repeat bad habits.
"God knows I adore you/And nothing came before you/But I don't have the heart to risk what's left of me."
"Right Now" is another tale of a heartbroken woman, but unlike Naughty Boy's previous production this emotional tune is raw and direct, and vocally powerful, which aids in delivering its message.
"I need you to love me right now." Emeli's vocals offer a final, lyrical request to be loved. She's tired of waiting to be loved.
The second track on the album, "Breathing Underwater" sets the tone for rest of the sonic journey Sandé embarks on here--almost as a prelude to the story that's about to come.
"I believe in miracles, cause it's a miracle I'm here," Sande sings effortlessly over a live strings arrangement made up of cellos, violins, violas and double basses.
Losing someone can feel like rock bottom, but similar to the song's adagio-turned-up-beat tempo, it's never impossible to rise.
Much edgier than the majority of the album, "Hurts" unleashes a sonic storm that can be felt the moment the music starts.
Burning with frustration, anger and exhaustion, Emeli roars, "Baby I'm not made of stone, it hurts" as the hook repeats itself throughout the song.
The song's only mellifluous moment is the bridge; when Sandé takes the time to break down her feelings towards her ex.
"It hurts the way that you pretend you don't remember/It hurts the way that you forget our times together...Like the time you said it's forever."
Sometimes you have to save the best for last.
Happy, vibrant and simply fun, "Highs & Lows" helps complete the Sandé saga of love. While she's been through a lot - more than most would want to bear - she comes out on top, reminding herself that she will always be there to get herself back up again.