Morgan James is a newcomer with a timeless voice that people won’t easily forget. The Idaho-born soul singer studied Opera at Julliard and later became a Broadway sensation, starring in productions like The Addams Family and Godspell. Her debut album, Hunter, is evidence that her vocal education is to be commended.
Morgan’s high-pitched vocals provoke shivers at the beginning of “Call My Name.” The slow, smooth song is her first single, which introduced her to the music scene and set the tone for the entire album. After hearing lyrics like “I just can’t stop writing songs about you/ I love you so much / I can’t wait to get my arms around you / And feel your touch,” it’s easy to guess that the album will be one love song after the other.
A suspenseful bass riff leads “Hunter,” and Morgan James begins to sing with a unique flow. Cue the horns, percussion, and then your grooving. This song has all the characteristics of an average soul track but with a strong feminist theme. Morgan expresses that she is dominant and doesn’t have a problem pursuing a man. In the song she sings, “Cause if I set my sights upon you / No, you will not hear a sound / You will fall when I am ready / Cause I’m a hunter / And I will hunt you down.”
“Heart Shake,” does a similar thing to your body, as it is very hard not to move to this upbeat tune. Morgan’s voice remains constant throughout the song, not hitting any high notes or performing any runs. The production is what makes this song special. It has a show tune feel and would probably be amazing to hear live.
Morgan’s vocal ability shines in “Bring Yourself To Me,” as the guitar plays a continuous melody. The lyrics are simplistic, but keep the same feminist ideas that she expressed previously. Then, Morgan James gets deep in track five, “I Want You.” She is clearly no longer in control, as she expresses a burning desire for someone she can’t seem to get. In the song she sings, “Like I never needed air before / Like I never needed water anymore / Like I felt a fire burn me down, like you do.” The song’s vamp transforms from soul to techno, and the sound is amazing.
Testimonies of relationships are portrayed in songs like “I Don’t Speak You,” “Drown,” and the melodious ballad, “You Never Lied.” The most effective ballad, however, is “Say The Words.” In this song, Morgan slowed it down as much as possible and used and organ and choral background vocals to give a truly heartfelt performance. The key progressions and brass instruments the play randomly at the end alone with her high pitched finish, makes for a powerful ending.
A huge northwestern influence shows in songs like “She’s Gone” and “Dancing in the Dark.” Morgan James’ debut is just perfect, paying tribute to her roots and including a popular sound to express an old idea like a love song. Her voice is exceptional and even in falsetto, she brings on the chills.