Head Or Heart by Christina Perri
The year was 2010, a contestant’s performance on “Jars Of Hearts” on the stage of So You Think You Can Dance got millions to Google Perri and it finally got her a deal with Atlantic Records. Her debut Lovestrong was released. This ballad-filled album perfectly embodied all of the issues of a broken heart. In her recently released follow up album, “Head or Heart,” she maintains the same trajectory of her debut album.
Perri described the pressure surrounding the writing of her second album as unavoidable, stating: “I had to completely trick myself, to be quite honest, and pretend that absolutely nobody was going to listen.” Perri began tweeting and posting pictures on Instagram about the progress of her second studio album using the hashtag “#albumtwo”, and on June 21, 2013 announced that the second album was coming together.
Let’s take a look at the array of emotion-roller-coaster we got on April 1st 2014.
Trust’s chilled starting (like a rock bands’) and Christina Perri’s cut glass vocals sends listeners on a whirlwind of emotion. Perri’s vocals are calm, welcoming, and full of pure passion. The guitar sound is just building – so is Perri’s emptional voice. It was the first song Perri wrote, and according to her inspired the rest of the album. With the use of a choir singing softly in the background, the track has an almost ethereal quality to it.
The pumping mid-tempo drum beat and Perri’s controlled almost happy vocals begin the Burning Gold. Perri merrily proclaims her desire to escape all of her problems and begin a new life with her lover. It sounds a bit oldish – like 70’s with the choir. Not the best one. Up-tempo and feel good element to it.
Be My Forever has that sweet, laid back starting. The mixture of acoustic guitar, tambourine and piano provides a perfect blend of the styles of Sheeran and Perri. Yes, it features Ed Sheeran. It sound a bit 70s too. Looking at the previous songs of these two artists, many fans probably expect an intimate ballad from the duo. Instead we get an extremely upbeat, joyful track, in which Perri and Sheeran’s voices blend perfectly to produce gorgeous harmonies. Cute one.
Human’s is a bit like Trust. It was released as the first single from the album on November 18, 2013. It is a power ballad that shows the strength of Perri’s vocal range, the sheer vulnerability of the lyrics makes it a striking song. The building rhythm crashes down in the chorus. It goes ‘just vocals’. It’s the perfect track and marks yet another notch in her success ladder.
Up next is One Night, with the beginning like Burning Gold, which also plays a little on the seductive side of the spectrum. The track is a sheltered soul, which tries hard to find its own wings amongst the other tracks on the album, only managing to stumble to its feet and come into its own as time progresses. The instrumentals showcased are subtle, and powerful, easily becoming a tune that’s plagued my mind for countless days, and that’s not a bad thing. The chorus is a bit different, sassy and sweet. Low and breathy. The back vocals make it a hit.
Perri hits gold right in the beginning of “I Don’t Wanna Break”. This cheerful track easily brings to mind the warm music and lyrics of Sara Bareilles. The bright bass line, the repetitive chorus and catchy lyrics makes it a guaranteed chart- topper. It’s an up-tempo number where Perri is experimenting. The robotic vocals in the chorus will make it the anthem of 2014.
Sea Of Lovers picks up some strength in the middle but then loses again – pick again… yes that’s how it goes. It might be riddled with faults, but its home to one of the catchiest hooks to be included within the album’s inner workings, and that’s something to smile about.
The Words is a piano featured track which takes heavily from Perri’s stripped down nature, and calls back to the singer/songwriter’s past releases in great fashion. It leads to a big climax. Can’t describe this slow tracks the beauty, as I don’t have “the words”. Ending showcases more of Perri’s vulnerability and killer vocals.
Lonely Child is another number where Perri experiments with music. Winehouse kinda rhythm. The shining point of “Lonely Child” is the tracks emotionally evoked lyrics, which will pull many into its grip, with quick ease if I may add. Its just not good. A fail with superb, gripping lyrics.
Run is another one mess. A failed track like Lonely Child. The sudden electro-pop elements surprised me yet it is one of many songs that show off Perri’s incredible vocal control and range. Cowboy, grungy tune to it. Skip over, please.
A filler maybe, Butterfly is another track which tries to mark its place but fails. “Butterfly” is a great song, don’t get me wrong, but it’s a track that sounds like it should have been included in Perri’s debut album rather than her latest effort. Perri and the track’s passionate lyrics are the only things included within the song to really be excited about, as the track tries hard to become an anthem, sadly only failing. Bores you a bit.
Pumping drum and occasional guitar bang, beginning is a cross between Back To Black and Perri’s Trust. “Shot Me In The Heart” is possibly one of the more mainstream pop influenced tracks to be created by Perri, and I have to say, I hope she never goes down that path full time, only resorting to such techniques from time to time. Other than the mainstream undertones of the track, “Shot Me In The Heart” is filled with mind-pounding hooks that will have listeners singing day and night. The hook is the only thing good in the album.
The last helping is I Believe reminds you that ballads are where Christina shines, and leaves a long-lasting impression on the audience. “This is not the end of me, this is the beginning” is the line which will get imprinted in your mind. Slow rhythm grows up in the mid. It maybe not the best, but a better choice of Head Or Heart’s conclusion.
Christina Perri’s sophomore album, Head Or Heart is a great follow up to Lovestrong, but at times fails to bring anything new to the table, and instead decides to play it safe with extremely familiar instrumentals, and vocal techniques that have already been showcased. It’s not every day you get to listen to the singer who can play emotions so raw and can drive their vocals from sheer sweet shyness to powerful anger and despair. A job welldone.