There aren’t many artists in the world who can say they’ve worked with some of the industry’s biggest icons, but Beth Nielsen Chapman is one of them. Having worked alongside the likes of Emmylou Harris, and had her songs performed by the legend that is Elton John, Chapman has been a regular feature from the mouths and in the ears of music fans everywhere for some time, and rightly so.
Her new album Hearts Of Glass begins with ‘Come To Mine’, which addresses the rather messed up state of the world but at the same time encourages those who listen to it not to let the little things get them down. It’s one of the more poppy songs Chapman has recorded throughout her career, but the upbeat feel to the track makes for a strong start to this new collection.
The album as a whole reads like a sort of diary, addressing and exploring tales and ideas about growing up, the joys of childhood, and, through the decidedly melancholy ‘Epitaph For Love’ the topsy-turvy world of relationships. A stand out inclusion on the album is ‘All For The Love’ which this reviewer for one wished – and wishes – she could blare from the car stereo while driving down an empty motorway, windows down, hair flying. It’s that good of a song.
The ultimate selling point for the collection is Chapman’s vocal. No matter what sound or style she sings in, she does so almost effortlessly. With simple but stunning instrumentation behind her, she brings every line she delivers to life, particularly on ‘Rage On Rage.’ By far the darkest inclusion on the album, her soft, almost tender vocal delivery shouldn’t work against the darker narrative, but somehow it does, and with considerable aplomb.
Anyone who is a fan of the blues will love the gorgeous ‘You’re Still My Valentine’ a lyrically poetic ode to romance which tells the story of how ups and downs can and do make couples stronger. It’s an ideal song to listen to with Valentine’s Day coming up, and even singletons (myself included) may find themselves feeling a tad emotional and inspired after a few listens.
In closing with ‘Dancer To The Drum’, Beth Nielsen Chapman brings the album full circle – almost as if she began by reading the first pages of a diary, and is now ending with the last remaining few. The song itself reaffirms the issues and topics Chapman has addressed throughout the collection; life, love and all the things in between and, with a vocal that seemingly vibrates with her message of hope and the power of togetherness, it’s sure to (or deserves to) leave listeners feeling uplifted.
Hearts Of Glass is out now on Proper Records.