Alan Hampton releases Origami For The Fire

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By Patricia Negrón

When I was a little girl and didn’t have any money to pay for music, I used to record songs from the radio and make my own mixtapes before Limewire was created in 2000. Spotify can do that now, but filled with the need to properly own Alan Hampton’s albums, I bought both on iTunes.

I first listened to Origami for the Fire, his recent sophomore album, free on Spotify before buying it for $9.99 on iTunes. I repeated this process for his first album, The Moving Sidewalk, on Spotify and bought it for $9.90 on iTunes. Frankly, both albums are worth the money.

(Official album cover from Alan Hampton)

As Nate Chinen noted in an article about Hampton for The New York Times in 2011, he “has a knack for using simple language to mask complicated emotions.” It is refreshing to hear intense emotions expressed in a simple way, making it one of my favorite aspects about his music.

In the song, “Every Living Part,” Hampton proves that you can sing about love without resorting to corny or cliché lyrics, unlike many mainstream artists. Origami for the Fire, as a whole does that beautifully, depicting images like that of an afternoon stroll through the Boston Common in the fall.

As Talia Billig wrote for café.com last Thursday, “his new album Origami for the Fire feels like the next logical extension of his beautiful career, venturing in new directions while still maintaining his own signature sound.”

The song, “Leaf,” makes me want to have a cup of tea at a café filled with views of trees shedding their leaves in autumn. Its upbeat sound is catchy and wonderful.

Another hit, “Won’t,” has a breezy feel to it while discussing some deep feelings about what could have been. Hampton’s songwriting ability seems to really shine in this song as he contemplates serious thoughts without making them heavy.

The song, “Elevator Ride” is my favorite on the album. The song has the most beautiful balance between simplicity and eventfulness. The music video for “Elevator Ride,” features Hampton singing with his guitar in different spots of New York City and pairs perfectly with the lyrics. “Elevator Ride” combines Hampton’s soft voice with playful lyrics about and a tug-of-war between his guitar and a violin, transporting you directly to New York City.

Hampton also has a video for another song on Origami for the Fire, called “Keep It In Your Dreams.” This video has an illustrated fantasy feel to it that seems very appropriate for the song’s title.  The song has initially has an instrumental sadness to it, a sentiment that is later repeated in his lyrics and his voice.

“Independent,” left me wanting for more. I feel that this song was Hampton’s weakest product of his storytelling style, but that doesn’t mean it’s a weak song.

Despite darker undertones, the whole album has a generally upbeat sound to it. Though each song is unique, all the songs connect with each other perfectly. All in all, the album Origami for the Fire, is very enjoyable and has my full recommendation.