Michelle Chamuel’s official post-The Voice debut effort Face the Fire suggests that she may not be that far apart from her more experimental alter-ego The Reverb Junkie. Sure, The Reverb Junkie is more experimental when it comes to the construction of the songs, but the melodies here as well as those of The Reverb Junkie are recognizably from the same creative source. The songs here are more mainstream in nature, naturally, without the eccentric studio tinkering that made the songs of The Reverb Junkie what they are.
Having said all this, Face the Fire is a quite a disappointment at first listen. This is an odd album in that, if I listen to each song on its own, the song can be enjoyable while remaining distinctly Ms Chamuel’s in terms of her enjoyable vocals and style. On their own, Wake Up is a lovely song about having a clear idea what you want before making any attempts to pursue a dream, Lottery is a charming song with a great chorus about just losing oneself in love without thinking too much about the future. Give You is a heartfelt slow tune all about accepting oneself and settling for nothing less from the people around you. Weight of the World is all about the uncertainties and insecurities one may face in this life.
These songs are all mostly very introspective in nature, focusing on internal matters such self esteem, doubts, insecurities, and, of course, wanting to belong and be loved. While the lyrics are not too profound by any means, they are simple yet easily related by folks especially those who are just stumbling around looking for meaning or just a better time in this world.
Put these songs together and listen to them all back to back, however, the songs start to bleed over one another as there is a sameness to them that can be overwhelming and even boring when heard in one go. The only stand out is Money, which is an adorable showtune-style upbeat song in which she tells a lover off for wanting her money rather than her love. I’m very disappointed that Go Down Singing, a really fabulous non-conformist anthem about being true to oneself to the bitter end, is not included here, because that song would have afforded another welcome reprieve from the introspective sameness of the other songs.
While I certainly enjoy listening to Face the Fire, therefore, it’s because I mostly listen to it in bits and pieces. I actually fell asleep one time I listened to it from start to finish, mind you, and I wasn’t even tired or sleepy on that day.