I had a rather uplifting experience earlier this week while I was listening to the debut album from Emma Louise. The total bummer of being stuck in a day job crisis, love life hell and just overall mid-week blah was torn apart and destroyed as Emma’s music surrounded me and ushered me into a journey of beauty and grace. It was a beautiful breeze of bliss that not only moved me but haunted me and after the album finished serenading me I found I wanted more and within seconds I was chasing the shiver, the ache and the swoon of “VS Head VS Heart” lying flat on my back headphones on and the world tuned out.
You see, that is all you want good music to do regardless of genre. You want it to save you, to lift you up and to help you escape. You want the sounds to usher you closer to some kind of resolve and purpose but at the same time you just want it to understand and allow you to relate to it emotionally. Sometimes it may not be an answer you want from the music, on occasion (in fact pretty much all the time for me) you just want to sink into and get lost, taken away to imaginary landscapes of beauty. Through this process of total world tune-out you want the music to give you the platform to feel and on some occasions you want it to do the crying for you so you can witness some kind of emotional redemption. You want it to make you believe in love while helping you celebrate loss. You want the music to be the friend who doesn’t talk back, you just want them to listen and to be there at your lowest and also your most high. You want the music to help you pick yourself up and once the dust of emotional hell has passed give you the chance to plug back into the world you so desperately wanted to disconnect from.
This is all I ever really require from music and as I’ve mentioned I really couldn’t care less what genre or what sonic circumstance provides this, I just know I want that escape and that spook.
Emma Louise has provided this escape and this spook on her debut album “VS Head VS Heart” and for that I am glad.
When I sat down to write this review I didn’t want to follow the wankery of your usual “album review” shtick where I talk about each track and say things like “Well This Song Certainly will be a big hit” and go on to compare Emma to this artist and that artist, blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. I mean really, fuck that process, I’ll leave that for the scientists to do for you. What I wanted to do was paint to you how I interacted with this music and what it did for me.
This album is lost in a sea of sadness, a beautiful collection of sadness that is looking for hope and redemption to rescue the beats of a broken heart and in the process help birth a brand new face. It dwells on a history of scars giving them space to mourn all of those ex-lovers. When I listen to this album I feel like regardless of whatever happy endings have been sourced and celebrated in Emma’s life there is still darkness and one face, one muse that is haunting her over and over again. Perhaps it is a personal experience or an exercise in the unrequited, either way the pain and ache of it all is scattered all over the songs and it is saturated in hurt. The hurt is not framed by angst, it is the kind of hurt that comes from having to find the strength to muster a brave face at a time when you feel your most desperate. There is the pain of youth nestled inside of the sounds of each song and a degree of disappointment in the responsibilities that come with adult life. There is also loneliness to the music, a deep sense of isolation and a sigh. It feels like Emma is someone who understands the pain of isolation and whether that comes from her small town beginnings or the loneliness of touring as a musician, the fact remains that she is plugged into the importance but also the emotional damage that this kind of lifestyle can breed. It’s clear that she misses someone quite deeply but most of all she potentially misses the innocence of her life prior the responsibility of being who she is required to be now. There is also a great sense of joy exploding out of each song and when you mix this with the darkness it helps the music soar. It is the vital ingredient in helping you surrender and escape. This is a truly powerful movement of music and every inch of it is important, singles aside this is an album proper and has been constructed with care. It is a gigantic leap from Emma’s early beginning’s and is the kind of pop music that I will always endorse.
Thank You Emma Louise for being brave and making a wonderful Shiver Pop masterpiece that will not only make you a star but one of the most important artists of the new decade.
10 Cassette Tapes Out Of 10
By: Dan Newton
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