Thicker than blood

Reviews

La Havas’ latest album tells a story of coming of age and finding one’s roots

by Kevin O’Neil, Arts & Enterainment Editor

9/10

It’s the popular topic of many a soul-searching introspection; where someone comes from – not necessarily where they were born, but where their family originated from, so many generations ago. Not many have a chance to find that out for themselves, though the velvet voiced Lianne La Havas did just that.

She and her mother flew from Havas’ home country of England to Jamaica, the land of her matrilineal heritage; this journey is what her album “Blood” sprouted from. This album is a colorful musical collage, ranging from powerful, inertia-filled songs like “Unstoppable” to the molasses melancholy of serenades such as “Wonderful,” and they all are born from two interwoven stories; the aforementioned trip to Jamaica and the emotional quandary of Havas’ revived romance.

Of the songs that imbue her Jamaican lineage to the listener, it would be without a doubt “Green and Gold”; the keen-eyed would notice that even the name of the song is evocative of the Jamaican flag. It opens with imagery of Havas looking at herself in the mirror as a child, pondering her identity: “Six years old / Starin’ at my nose in the mirror/ Trying to dip my toes in the mirror/ Thinkin’ ‘Who’s that girl?’/ and ‘Does the mirror world go on forever?.’”

It goes on about her evolution as a young woman, with the chorus focusing on her chase of the “green and gold,” using “Those eyes you gave to me / To let me see / Where I come from.” She even gives a little nod to Greece with the line “Just like the ancient stone,” as that is where her father’s side of the family originated.

As for the relationship-oriented portion of the album, it is a rather conflicted and melancholy narrative; though not quite in chronological order. It’s a story of her getting back together with someone after a breakup, but it seems nearly backward, with songs of the “Unstoppable” confidence that oozes out of any reunited couple coming in at the beginning, with somber songs of the initial “Good Goodbye” right at the end.

Altogether, “Blood” is a masterful collection of colorful artistry with a song for any mood; definitely worth a listen from anyone who are looking to expand their horizons.