SINGLE REVIEW: Ingrid Michaelson – “Girls Chase Boys”

"Chase" enters the race.

“Chase” enters the race.

“I’m a little bit down but I’m not dead / There’s a little bit more that has to be said,” sings 34-year-old Ingrid Michaelson in the first verse of her latest single, and she’s sure got a point. The singer-songwriter channeled a more orchestral side on her 2012 album Human Again, and though it landed her best peak ever on the Billboard 200, little radio play for lead single “Ghost” (#20 AAA) and second single “Blood Brothers” followed and the effort disappeared relatively fast. Now, Michaelson returns with an energetic, straight-forward pop track to lead her sixth and latest album, effortlessly rhyming about the rhythm of love, a simple philosophy that “girls chase boys chase girls.”

The New York born performer is, of course, best known for her song “The Way I Am”, which was featured in a Fall 2007 campaign for retailer Old Navy. Issued on her own Cabin 24 Records (also behind her latest single, along with RED Distribution), it rocketed onto the digital surveys and crashed into the top 40 on the Hot 100. As a result, her album Girls and Boys was reissued and now stands at over 275,000 copies in sales. Several albums have followed it, including 2009’s Everybody; that landed her a #7 song on my personal chart in “Maybe”, her highest peak thus far. Now, with her latest release, she’s cruising for another mainstream hit so long as she keeps the “Chase” up.

At 3:39 in length, “Chase” pretty much sits at an average time, with an upfront chorus, followed by a verse in an ABAC fashion, then into a stripped-back Middle 8, and an end on a quick fade. Lyrically, Michaelson provides us right away with the realization that heartache is inevitable, but that giving into the depression of it isn’t worth it: “All the broken hearts in the world still beat / Let’s not make it harder than it has to be.” Yet, in the game of romance, she chooses to be strong in the face of the ones that got away: “I’ve got two hands, one beating heart / And I’ll be alright.” Overall, the message is crystal clear and the lyric set reflects that: it’s simple, yet not underwhelming.

Musically, “Chase” is characterized by a heavier drum line, a series of piano chords and a sweet and soaring vocal in the lead. Best of all, it’s pleasant. It’s my favorite single release from her in years. It has the charm of a late 90’s/early 00’s Lisa Loeb gem, though I would think people are ultimately going draw a comparison to Sara Bareilles‘s “Brave” based on the way certain elements of the song are constructed. (Don’t worry, it’s not a total copy of it.) There’s life here, and with it, a whole lot of potential for its future success at the Hot AC and AAA radio airwaves. Stay tuned to see how far it spreads.

While the change in sound is noticeable, “Girls Chase Boys” is enough Ingrid Michaelson to satisfy her core fans, while also retrieving past lovers of her material. It’s concise and to the point, while still remaining playful and adaptable to a wide audience. Soon enough, you’ll be singing along to it as well. Be sure to support the cause and download the song at the link below or stream the world premiere of it via SiriusXM’s The Pulse, located on channel 15 in the lineup.

(Purchase “Girls Chase Boys” and pre-order album Lights Out on iTunes – 11PM EST 2/3)

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