Album Review: Ella Henderson - 'Everything I Didn't Say'

British pop singer and songwriter Ella Henderson rose to fame via The X Factor UK, but has since proven to be so much more than a reality TV star. Since her 4 year music break from music from 2015 to 2019, Henderson has been slowly building up her catalog of singles and EP's. However, fans haven't heard a full length project from the Lincolnshire-born vocalist since her debut album 'Chapter One' in 2014. The Mic's Emily Campbell gives her verdict on Ella Henderson's 2022 sophomore album, 'Everything I Didn't Say'.


Ella Henderson is set to release her new honest, heartfelt album Everything I Didn’t Say on the 11th of March. Her second album is made up of a lengthy 16 songs featuring well-known singles Brave, Everything I Didn’t Say and her collaboration with Indie singer Tom Grennan Let’s Go Home Together, which achieved a top 10 spot in the UK charts. This is Ella’s first full album release since ‘Chapter One’ in 2014, so fans have been anticipating her long-awaited comeback.


"Ella has now reached a time in her life where she has a plethora of experiences she can reflect or reminiscence on when writing."

Ella via Instagram shared her excitement ahead of the release of the new album with fans, "it’s been 8yrs since my first album!! I am sooo excited to finally share this body of work with you all!! Who’s coming to see me on tour?” Following the release of the album Ella will embark on an eight-date headline tour across the UK in the autumn, after supporting The Script on their tour in May. Ella started off her music career at 16 as an X factor contestant and despite not winning, she has been one of the most successful musicians to come out of the competition alongside the likes of Little Mix, One Direction and James Arthur.


Her new album certainly has a lot more depth than her previous work. This is perhaps due to the fact she is approaching the song writing process for this album at 26 years old instead of in her late teens. Ella has now reached a time in her life where she has a plethora of experiences she can reflect or reminiscence on when writing. The album cover features Ella sitting on top of a pile of tumbling books. This suggests that this is an album which not only is a self-healing process for Ella but also a platform to share her life stories with her listeners who may be going through similar experiences.



The album itself explores a range of relatable issues such as mental health, heartbreak, love, self-growth and pain. Brave, one of her recent stand-out singles, is arguably the most emotional songs on the album. Its lyrics are tinted with sadness for the struggles the subject of the song is going through, yet alongside these lyrics is an uplifting, constant electronic beat. The effective use of this music technique suggests that even when you go through a hard time, the people closest to you provide constant support, which helps you to be brave and get through it.


"[Northern Lights] seems to depict the feeling of not really fitting to the world around you but having a lover who becomes a compass to navigate your life with."

Ella’s album deals intuitively with mental health - songs such as Emotions explore not feeling ok but not fully being able to grasp what you do feel, ‘ever feel numb, feel nothing at all.’ The ethereal atmosphere of the song attempts to mirror the detachment one feels with the world in this state of mind. Northern Lights similarly explores detachment. It seems to depict the feeling of not really fitting to the world around you but having a lover who becomes a compass to navigate your life with. The song is stripped back song with a light guitar and choral accompaniment which gives it a mellow feel.


Ugly differently explores the negative effect of unrealistic beauty standards present in modern society on someone's mental health and body image. The song uses staccato strings to give it a dramatic sound to almost put up a fight against these standards in a powerful, defying way. The album also features upbeat songs like Let’s Go Home Together and Take Time which radiate self-love and signal the importance of letting go of the past and living in the present. These are the more hopeful moments of the album, they provide light amongst some of the darker songs.



Ella's inclusive and honest album goes against the current Tik Tok music trend of catchy, somewhat meaningless lyrics, aimed to generate money quickly. Ella’s work instead is about connecting with her listeners. It explores real issues many people will be experiencing on a daily basis, which therefore merits it a success as an album.


Emily Campbell

 

Edited by: Elliot Fox


In article images courtesy of Ella Henderson via Facebook. Video courtesy of Ella Henderson via YouTube.