Reflections: Eliza Doolittle – ‘In Your Hands’

The new Eliza Doolittle album ‘In Your Hands’ is really rather extraordinarily wonderful. Released four weeks ago now, we intentionally wanted to live with it, to make a lasting connection with the art and to allow it settle and resonate… after all, it did take over three years to arrive and therefore deserves full and continued attention.

Eliza

‘In Your Hands’ is very much a coming of age record that boldly and triumphantly shows progression and redefines her sonic sound and lyrically delves deeper with a collection of songs reminiscent of diary entries over the course of a life lived to its fullest. There is a frank openness, a sincere honesty to the album as a whole which mostly treads the path of love and which gives rises to the highs and lows within relationships speaking of the joys of finding love, the disappointments, break-ups and subsequent moving on process. It is an extremely special record, there is joy and pain within the lyrics that are once again uniquely Eliza. ‘In Your Hands’ also showcases Eliza’s growth and range as a vocalist with supreme results.

‘In Your Hands’ is an album where each song is brimming with life and personality. There are songs on the record which speak of love and its many positives and glories. ‘Back Packing’ offers the best example of Eliza’s revised musical standpoint – it provides the usual memorable hooks, distinctive lyrical content “you need someone to trust, well I got storage in my trunk, Cos when you open me up, I got the heart as well as lumps and bumps” and a passionate vocal combined with a crazy infectious beat courtesy of Kid Harpoon who also provides the beat for Walking On Water which serves as Eliza’s forthcoming single and speaks of wanting an all-encompassing love “I’m done with small doses, dipping my toes in, I’m about to dive from the white cliffs of Dover”.

Similarly, the dramatic sounding title track contains the lyric “I’m in love with you, there’s nothing I can do, I’m in love through the good and the bad” but which also explores the darker notion that when in love, one person can have such a hold “you’ve got the power to destroy my world”. Elsewhere, ‘No Man Can’ speaks of the one person that can be relied on to be different “you make me feel a way that no man ever could, Cos while they’ll break my heart break my heart, I know you never would”.

(The short film above, delves into and provides an edifying insight into the creative process connected with the creation of the album)

Despite the glowing report on the many edifying aspects of love, there are songs on the album which express heartache and pain such as ‘Hush’ “your mouth is moving, But I can’t hear, What you’re saying, hush your lips, Cos it’s all bullshit”, ‘Checkmate’ “just a little boy in a big girls land, playin’ at being king I took my kingdom back, throwing arrows at the window, But they’re not getting in though, you made a move too late, and now you’re in checkmate” and ‘Make Up Sex’ “you can’t fool me this time, I’m not scared, If I lose you lose you lose you lose you, Cos I see through through you through you”, which deliver almost acid tongued, biting lyrics which play out the varying roles and stages within a relationship – the ‘you did me wrong – I’m not taking any more’ lyrics offer insight and reflection tinged with regret but that are also balanced with knowingness and hindsight that comes through acceptance, distance and time and so the lyrics aren’t vexed, bitter or vengeful, they gracefully reveal and tell the tale of lessons learned and the strength gained as a result of the experience opposed to dwelling on the dark angst and thus as a result these songs are unique especially when in relation and contrast to other ‘personal’ albums that have been revered over the past few years because primarily they offer hope.

Several moment should be spared to explore the three deluxe edition tracks which are also extraordinarily brilliant – thematically they sit alongside the existing album tracks perfectly yet they also offer something different, more personal and perhaps sonically more ‘Eliza’. ‘Missing Kissing’ is a blunt, no nonsense tale “nothing’s going to take me back there, I can tell you that I’m missing kissing but I’m not missing you”. ‘One In A Bed’ is gorgeously soulful with an achingly beautiful vocal and pleading lyric “one in a bed, too much space to move around, please come back and get in my way again”. Whilst ‘Rubbish Cans’ serves as a reminder that despite difficulties, time heals “I try to put my make up on, to cover up what’s wrong… I need to chill against the rubbish cans”.

On the whole, ‘In Your Hands’ is simply everything right now – it is an entirely joyous, accomplished and brightly shining gem – one which refreshingly spotlights growth, truth and honesty. It is an album that is a captivating, rewarding and entirely outstanding. A truly magnificent body of work.