“There’s gonna be brighter days, though it seems distant, the world will change,” she sings over handclap-driven rhythms on the uplifting gospel-fuelled Brighter Days. Amen to that.
The Sunderland-born, Scottish-raised star believes passionately that fear and pessimism can be beaten by faith.
There is more empowering positivity on Family. Emeli’s exquisite vocals ring out over floating synths, building to a surging swell of backing vocals that her choirmaster father would surely approve of.
“If you’re feeling low, know you’ll rise again,” she assures us over a syncopated drum groove.
Sandé has always been special. She won a songwriting contest on Trevor Nelson’s The Lowdown age 16, and co-wrote and sang on two Top Ten hits before notching up her first solo one.
Her 2012 debut album went multi-platinum, she sang at the Olympics and the White House, worked with her heroines and bagged a Novello award.
Instant stardom broke her marriage and nearly broke her, so Emeli stepped back and learnt to say no. But nothing could dent her talent or deny her ambition.
She still takes chances here.
Look What You’ve Done, rooted in UK garage and guest-starring Small Heath rapper Jaykae, is the first song she has produced herself. Sung beautifully over frisky drums and shimmering synths, it’s about the euphoria of falling in love.
Given recent interviews, it may also be autobiographical. Honesty remains a cornerstone of Emeli’s work.
There are haunting ballads, an instrumental, some epic soul and even protest (Another One) among these 16 tracks.
“No red light or dark night can stop me, no wall, no matter how tall, can block me,” she tells us.
You’d better believe it.