Amy MacDonald – A Woman of the World
Woman of the World. That’s the title of Amy MacDonald’s new release, showcasing some of her greatest hits over the last 10 years, with new tracks and live recordings.
For those who know her only by the breakthrough tracks ‘This is the Life’ and ‘Mr Rock and Roll’, Amy MacDonald’s encompasses more than the folk-rock she is most known by. She cites influences such as The Killers, Paul Weller and The Vaccines, and blends acoustic and folk with rock and indie influences. This alone would make for a strong sound, but her soulful vocals and talent for songwriting makes for a powerful and emotional mix.
She debuted with the number one album ‘This is the Life’ in 2008, and has since released three more studio albums, regularly performs at festivals and grown a fanbase around the world. With each album, her sound has grown. From the first, subsequent releases have become sometimes rockier, sometimes more pop, but still keeps the folk and acoustic base.
Woman of the World is essentially a greatest hits. But the addition of new songs as well as live and acoustic renditions of past singles make it a welcome release. Also available on vinyl, listening to it on a record player makes it all the more special.
Tracks like the live recording of “Lets Start a Band” take on a new life. The record from her first album grows from a soft ballad, full of tension before building into a thumping crecendo. The latest live recording takes this further, with a much rockier vibe and a soaring guitar solo that takes the anthem to a whole new level.
Listening through tracks from each of Amy’s albums, there is no doubt she has matured as an artist. That is not to say the early songs are by any means immature. At just 19, her debut album covered topics as diverse as a night out on the town with ‘This is the Life’, to the shallowness of fame on ‘This Pretty Face’. However, it seems with the experience she has become more focused on life and her position in the world.
‘Down by the Water’ from the latest studio is a song about waiting to reunite with someone. It is a song of longing, where a sparse backing track creates a melancholic vibe. While the original version includes backing vocals from the soul singer Juliet Roberts for a particularly powerful track, the acoustic recording on is completely stripped back but loses none of its soul.
It might be the title track of this album, ‘Woman of the World’ that best shows Amy’s growth and talent as an artist. It is an uplifting track about female empowerment that seems to encompass her entire catalogue. As each of her albums, this latest track is again slightly different. More electronic sounding drums makes it a little dancier, but it is still kept still distinctly Amy, with her vocals as soulful as ever.
Releasing a greatest hits compilation of the past 10 years is an impressive feat for a songwriter of just 31 years old. But she shows no sign of stopping. Her European tour continues this year, with two UK dates planned in Manchester. Sadly, these UK dates are just all too rare. Then it seems she is back to the studio (we hope) to continue bringing us more of her characteristic sound.
Written by Luke Boothman