Mary Lambert’s debut full-length album is aptly titled Heart On My Sleeve. The Seattle singer-songwriter, who garnered national attention for her “Same Love” collaboration and Grammy performance with Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, is not one to shy away from baring her heart through her lyrics. It was her own gut-wrenching song “I Know Girls (Body Love)” that first captured our attention here at Muruch and we’re loving her debut album.
Much of the album contains peppy pop tracks in the vein of Sara Bareilles, such as the opener and first single, “Secrets.” I prefer Mary’s big voice and piano playing (which rival Allison Crowe and Tori Amos) without so much polish, but her unabashedly confessional lyrics continue to set her far apart from other artists.
The album truly comes alive and showcases Mary’s extraordinary poetic talent with the beautiful spoken word “Dear One,” which melts exquisitely into the equally enchanting love song “When You Sleep.”
She transforms Rick Springfield’s classic uptempo pop song “Jessie’s Girl” into a pretty piano ballad. Her yearnful, gorgeously multi-faceted soprano adds new dimensions to the unrequited love anthem.
Angel Haze and K.Flay guest on the track “Ribcage” and the solo tracks “So Far Away” and “Monochromatic” are the standouts among the pop songs.
Yet it’s the album’s more quiet, wistful moments that grab the heart and make Mary’s music so compelling. I only wish that heartfelt acoustic side had been explored a bit further and that “I Know Girls (Body Love) had been included. Granted the song was previously released on EP, but Mary’s full-length debut is her true introduction to the world at large in the post-Grammys limelight. Thankfully the finale, “Sum of Our Parts” plays like a triumphant self-acceptance sequel to “Body Love.”
Mary Lambert’s Heart On My Sleeve is one of the stronger debuts of recent years and will definitely be on my best of the year list. Mary Lambert deserves to be a star and the world needs to hear her spectacular music and poetry.