Album Review: MY INDIGO by Sharon den Adel

MY INDIGO by Sharon den Adel

Sharon den Adel makes a radical move away from her usual symphonic metal sound to craft a beautiful, raw and emotionally lifting album with MY INDIGO

It’s fair to say that past two years haven’t been easy for Sharon den Adel. After twenty years in the limelight, the Dutch singer/songwriter decided to take a well-deserved break from the music industry to focus on her personal life. Burnt out, emotionally drained and compounded by some devastating family news, den Adel had a crisis of inspiration, resulting in her taking a two-year retreat of healing and exploration, a break which resulted in the creation of her brand new project, MY INDIGO.

For those new to the name, Sharon den Adel is a Dutch singer/songwriter best known as the frontwoman of platinum-selling symphonic metal band Within Temptation. Performing since the age of 14, den Adel has grown to become one of best female vocalists of her generation and is a founding member of Within Temptation, along with her long-term Robert Westerholt.

MY INDIGO is den Adel’s first solo album and is the result of her two-year retreat. Initially intended as a personal project, not for commercial release, MY INDIGO sees den Adel move away from the usual symphonic metal sound of Within Temptation to craft a beautiful, raw and emotionally lifting LP. As the album cover suggests, MY INDIGO boasts a distinctive summer vibe with den Adel stripping the music right back to produce 10 bold, euphoric, vibrant and emotive tracks inspired by modern pop, her love of 80s music and Fleetwood Mac.

The title track MY INDIGO instantly sets the tone for the rest of the album with its melodic guitar and den Adel’s signature vocals leading the song. As the chorus kicks, soaring violins blend with electronic sounds to deliver a distinctive electro-pop sound. This euphoric mix is also evident on tracks such as STAR CROSSED LOVERS and SAFE AND SOUND, which boast a distinctive sound not dissimilar to that of Lana Del Ray.

My Indigo Album CoverAs expected, the songs on MY INDIGO are lyrically more intimate, personal and, not surprisingly, a result of den Adel’s current life experiences. There is a maturity to the songs which sees den Adel grow as a writer. There’s also lots of storytelling in tracks like SOMEONE LIKE YOU, a piano-led ballad about two childhood sweethearts who have grown apart and CRASH AND BURN, a euphoric electro-pop dance track with poetical lyrics harking back to nature.

While den Adel has stripped back album in terms of structure, all of the tracks boast a well-produced and composed sound thanks to her collaboration with Within Temptation producer Daniel Gibson. Many of the arrangements encompass a distinctive Euro glossiness glazed with contemporary pop with BLACK VELVET SUN, a eighties style club anthem and INDIAN SUMMER, a reggae-inspired track with a nice balance of violins and electronics, in particular standing out.

Yet while MY INDIGO is a mood apart from Within Temptation, a couple of the tracks feel familiar and comfortable, most notably the piano-led OUT OF THE DARKNESS and LESSON LEARNED, arguably the best tracks on the LP.

Those expecting to hear something similar to Within Temptation may be in for a shock with MY INDIGO. Here, the tracks are less about power and bravado but are more personal and intimate. As part of her healing process, den Adel has uncovered a hidden, vulnerable and meditative side that flies below the anthems she usually creates for Within Temptation to leave behind a euphoric, vibrant and emotive album that marks a new phase in her musical career.

4 out of 5 stars

MY INDIGO by Sharon den Adel is released on 20 April 2018