Elli Ingram Gets Mature and Personal on ‘Bad Behaviour’ (Album Review)

Tom Atkinson

By Tom Atkinson

Tom Atkinson

18 May 2023

Elli Ingram is a Brighton singer who has been part of the music scene for around ten years now. ‘Bad Behaviour‘ comes six years after her previous effort, with the first single (the title track) coming out in 2020. It was written during a time that Ingram was struggling within herself and working part-time. The album explores this time and analyses her personal situation and the people around her. It makes for an intriguing and powerful statement and the music’s pretty good as well.

In terms of the tracklist, seven of the thirteen were prior singles, so you may have heard a lot of the project already. However, the order of the tracks fits like a glove and tells the story of this project from beginning to end. Complimenting the storytelling is the vocals. Ingram has a slight rasp and smokiness in her voice that sets her out from her contemporaries. The singer also knows just when to change the tone like at the end of ‘Selfish‘ where she turns her voice up to 11 and hits the high notes.

Complimenting these vocals are the many writers and producers on this record such as Ivor Novello winner EG White and Mahalia and AJ Tracey collaborator Felix Joseph. The main writer and producer on this album is Aston Rudi who has also worked with Mahalia, as well as FLO and Cat Burns. His writing skills helped Ingram tell her stories, while his soulful production and expert use of instruments enhance things nicely. Opening track ‘No Plan B‘ is a good example of this combining the acoustic-dreamy melody and a smidge of sax. The writing about wanting to pursue her career despite self-doubt is echoed by lines like “Gotta put my dreams on the shelf”. It’s a very good start that sets the tone and themes of the LP.

The album has plenty of good material, but by far the most powerful is ‘Poor Baby‘. The slowed-down production allows you to focus on Ingram and her vocals which she pushes to the maximum. The track explores the topic of child sex abuse and how it affects a person’s relationships after. She hits those high notes on the chorus and the use of piano and guitar compliments this track well. It’s a dark and very sad tale, but Ingram explores it in a mature and profound way.

The only feature on the album is Mahalia who suits nicely on ‘Fool’s Gold‘. Herself and Ingram harmonise well together over the more wavey-R’n’B instrumental which is a nice change of pace. They document their love for their partners as being beyond gifts and showy moments of affection. It’s a very cute love song that feels fresh in a world of music that focuses on sex or big romantic displays.

The main themes of the record are relations with partners and self-doubt. ‘Growing Pains‘ is a very relatable track about reminiscing on your childhood. It highlights how a person you cared for back then is no longer here. Meanwhile, ‘Selfish‘ is elevated by heartfelt singing and a faint use of brass and violin. Here, she details being torn apart by her insecurities and jealousy that her ex has moved on.

Strange How Good Things Change‘ is a nice conclusion to proceedings. She details moving on from a partner and growing from the situation. It feels like a good close to the topics and emotions shown throughout the record. The mixture of synth-pop, soul, choir-like background vocals, and an infectious chorus is pleasant on the ears. The actual closer is the title track which is a bittersweet ending. It’s a feel-good anthem with an influence of jazz that has your fingers clicking. While it appears to be a fun night out, Ingram appears to be aware that it’s only temporary as the person she’s with, won’t be around in the morning. It feels very honest in that it shows while life gets better when you love yourself, there are still those out there who are just using you.

Bad Behaviour‘ is a very enjoyable and interesting listen. It feels like a raw and honest tale that highlights the harsh realities of life and love through many situations. The production and songwriting are very good. While some tracks like ‘Loving You (Is Loving Me)‘ tread familiar ground, the powerful and standout vocals are on point throughout. You feel like you have gone on a journey with Elli Ingram on this LP and listeners will be looking forward to other musical journeys from her in the future.

Star Rating: 3.5/5

Elli Ingram is on Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok.