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Music / Imogen Heap

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Imogen Jennifer Heap (born December 9, 1977) is a famous alternative singer from Essex, England.

Heap began writing music as a teenager, having learned to play and taught herself to play many instruments when she was young. She got her start in recording music as a guest vocalist for the band Acacia, eventually and released her first solo album, iMegaphone. However, despite its popularity, record problems and budget issues resulted in her being dropped from her record label.

She then began collaborating with Guy Sigsworth, Acacia's programmer and keyboard player. Forming the duo Frou Frou, they released a single album, Details, in 2002. After getting dropped from their label, Imogen created her second solo album, Speak For Yourself in 2005, and followed it with Ellipse in 2009. Her fourth album, Sparks, was released in 2014.

In regards to Heap's solo work, her uncontested Signature Song is "Hide and Seek", which grew popular through its use in media, namely in a scene from the season 2 finale of The O.C., then as a meme through The Lonely Island's "Dear Sister" skit on Saturday Night Live parodying said scene, and finally as the main sample for Jason Derulo's hit song "Whatcha Say".

On the subject of samples, and specifically the recurring Sampled Up effect she's experienced, Heap has gained further stature through some of her music being the sample basis of incredibly popular songs; a notable example is her 2005 song "Just for Now" being turned into Clams Casino's "I'm God".

Solo discography:

  • iMegaphone (1998)
  • Speak for Yourself (2005)
  • Ellipse (2009)
  • Sparks (2014)

Imogen Heap provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Abusive Parents: "Little Bird" (probably).
  • Age-Progression Song: "The Listening Chair". Each minute of the song represents 7 years of her life, and she has stated that she plans to continue adding minutes to the song every 7 years until she dies.
  • Apocalyptic Log: "The Walk". It presents falling in love by someone who doesn't want to as trying and failing to fend off an unstoppable invading force.
  • Anti-Christmas Song: "Just for Now" describes a holiday dinner with the family going down in flames.
  • Anti-Love Song: "I Am in Love with You", "The Walk", possibly "Loose Ends".
  • Audience Participation Song: "Hide and Seek" and "Just for Now".
  • Auto-Tune: She uses a vocoder on "Hide and Seek" in order to sing multi-part harmony with herself.
  • Best Served Cold: "Getting Scared", which is about someone who was bullied for years as a child and gets revenge on their tormenter.
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: "Just for Now".
  • Blackmail: "A-Ha!".
  • Body Double: "Bad Body Double", obviously.
  • Break-Up Song: "Loose Ends" is about the slow, quiet dissolution of a relationship.
  • Careful with That Axe: "Leave Me to Love". It sounds like a demon got inside the recording studio.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander
  • Crappy Holidays: "Just For Now", which describes yet another disastrous family holiday.
  • Downer Ending: Speak for Yourself, a quite peppy, quirky album, ends with the slow, dramatic and somewhat scary "The Moment I Said It".
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: Every fan she gained thanks to the one-two punch of Frou Frou's "Let Go" and her own "Hide and Seek" were shocked that her first album, released in 1998, was standard alternative rock fare with a full, growling voice fully evocative of that period.
  • Evil Twin: "Bad Body Double".
  • Fake-Out Fade-Out: "Run-Time"
  • Freak Out: Apparently, "First Train Home" was inspired by a minor one.
  • Gaia's Lament / Gaia's Vengeance: "Earth", where the earth itself is an annoyed mother chastising humanity, her children.
  • Hypocrite: "Aha!"'s first two verses — one is about a man who, while saying he couldn't eat wheat, or meat, or dairy (because of his own choices, not because of allergies), later ate a chocolate biscuit containing wheat and dairy, knowing its contents. Imogen wasn't amused (especially since she'd just taken a huge amount of care to make him a dinner he could eat). The second verse is about one of her neighbours, who, despite being an environmental activist, bought a gas-guzzling car. Imogen really wasn't amused. The third verse is about a murderer.
  • Instrumentals: The deluxe version of Ellipse featured a second disc containing the entire album in this form. Since "The Fire" was already an instrumental, Heap removed the piano solo leaving just the crackling fire.
    • She did it again with Sparks.
  • Last Note Nightmare: Both the beginning and ending to "Leave Me to Love".
    • "The Listening Chair". Good Lord.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: "Goodnight and Go" (a silly, happy song about being infatuated with someone to the point that you're stalking them), "Getting Scared" (a slow but upbeat song about a girl getting revenge on her childhood tormenter), and "Shine" (which is thought to be about someone who is going to commit suicide but finally decides not to, and to keep going with their life), among others.
    • She seems rather fond of this trope, if we consider songs like "Loose Ends", "Angry Angel", "I Am in Love with You", "Clear the Area", "Little Bird", "Bad Body Double", "Wait It Out"...
  • Lyrical Tic: She was rather fond of "da da oom" early on, which showed up in "Not You Again" and in the iMegaphone songs "Candlelight" and "Angry Angel", among others.
  • New Sound Album: And how. iMegaphone is a fairly straightforward alt-rock album, evocative of early PJ Harvey. Speak for Yourself and everything she's produced since is much more electronic and ethereal. She even sings in a very different voice.
  • Obsession Song: "Goodnight and Go" is a very sweet song... But there's one part in particular...
    You've got your headphones on and you're dancing
    Got lucky, beautiful shot
    You're taking everything off
    Watch the curtains, wide open
    And you fall in the same routine
    Flicking through the TV
    Relaxed and reclining
    And you think you're alone..."
    • Also, quite possibly "Swoon".
  • Parental Love Song: The song she did for Sennheiser, "Tiny Human", is one for her baby daughter, Scout
  • Perishing Alt-Rock Voice
  • Precision F-Strike: Since Heap rarely uses curse words, it's a big deal when she does use them.
    "Leave Me to Love": "I got you a murky light, tell me what can you see? / A huge cloud of shit, hanging over me"
    "Bad Body Double": "We look very similar except she's got some grays and a little extra weight on the sides and dimply thighs, I hear that stuff's a bitch to get rid of."
  • Purple Prose: Ellipse saw Heap turning this trope into an art form, to express intangible feelings via concrete sentences.
    Slapping someone obnoxious in "First Train Home": "This is an echo game / Irises retreating to ovals of white / The urge to feel your face and blood rushing to paint / My handprint".
    Waking up beside her lover in "Between Sheets": "The many windswept yellow stickies of my mind / Or the molten emotional front line / I couldn't care less I'm transfixed in this absolute bliss".
  • Record Producer: In addition to her solo work, she produced "Clean" on Taylor Swift's 1989.
  • Scatting: She loves this trope. "Mic Check" is nothing but four and half minutes of her scatting.
  • Scenery Porn: "Propeller Seeds" uses "3D" sound to create an aural version of this trope.
  • Significant Anagram: iMegaphone -> Imogen Heap.
  • Stalker with a Crush: "Goodnight and Go".
  • Statuesque Stunner: She's six feet tall.
  • Teacher/Student Romance: "Come Here Boy", formed from a crush she had on a music teacher.
  • Unlimited Wardrobe: She has one to rival Lady Gaga. More recently, at the Grammys, she wore a dress that displayed the Twitter messages of fans.
  • Who's Laughing Now?: The viewpoint character of "Getting Scared" has had enough and goes after her bully. And she's going to enjoy it.
  • Word Salad Lyrics: "Lifeline", "Tidal" and "Daylight Robbery", though they still convey quite a lot of meaning in an almost Carrollian fashion.