Originally published December 18 2020.
With her studio live performance of “Million Miles”, Angelina Jordan recounts her experience of love and loss, sadness and sorrow, hope and faith in an acoustic rendition even more gripping and emotionally charged than the original release.
Piano and Cello
The black and white music video depicts a statuesque Angelina with solemn expression and flinty glare in her eyes accompanied by a pianist and a cellist.
As soon as she starts to sing, the camera moves into a tight close-up on her face.
True to form, she closes her eyes and bares her soul, while unleashing her haunting voice and captivating her helpless audience.
Room for improvisation
The arrangement features a few subtle changes. The original five-piece string section is cut down to a single cello, which remains mostly subdued, but asserts itself at times with stirring melody.
The chord progression of piano is far less rhythmic than the original release, giving Angelina plenty of room to improvise.
As expected, Angelina slightly reduces the tempo to about 72 BPM. On a few occasions, she slows down even further to fully express herself in heart-rending vocals, with piano and cello dutifully following her lead.
This is a visceral rendition devoid of any trappings of mainstream pop. This is unadulterated, quintessential artistry of the Angelina we have come to know and love.
The beautifully shot video adds a layer of intimacy to her vocals.
The audience has the sensation that she is confiding her inner most feelings in them, and they instantly feel her pain and longing.
The ending in which Angelina sings her last note and stares down the camera lens reminds me of the iconic closing shot in the 1933 Hollywood classic “Queen Christina”, in which Greta Garbo stands as a silent figurehead at the bow of the ship, wistfully staring into the unknown.
Throughout the performance, Angelina is in firm control over her emotions, letting it surge but never allowing it to overflow.
Mature stage presence
Even the veteran angels must be somewhat surprised at how maturely she conducts herself on stage.
While watching this video, those who have followed her over the years must have bittersweet feelings boiling in their chests.
Our barefoot princess has come of age.