There is something truly fascinating yet obvious about the latest trend of, typically, teenage girls being drawn to music of women expressing their struggles and telling stories through beautifully subtle vocals, poetic lyrics and dreamy instrumentals. Rising out of the cult popularity of artists such as Fiona Apple caused by this, comes another new artist for this craze by the name of emzae, an alt pop singer, songwriter and producer. With her latest single ‘I Guess, Anyway’ she demonstrated brutal honesty and a clear knack for expression.
The song features the typical pop instrumental statements of synths and electronic instruments, which build on top of each other slowly throughout the song. These sections of the instrumental play backing elements for most of the single, adding extra moments to the song which makes it much more interesting, whether they play a few notes of a scale after a lyric is sung or if it is a chord being played underneath the vocals. These synths then take on a sound more in the forefront during the bridge portion where they add a wistful wind like sound on top of a guitar solo played with an 80s synth style guitar tone, which was amazing to listen to. It was fairly simple for a solo, however for this kind of alt pop song it is far better to have a clear sounding, simple guitar solo than a messy, complicated one. The style fit a lot better and made the transition much smoother.
Within the instrumental you can also hear an acoustic guitar being played underneath the keyboard chords, it helps to add another softer layer with it playing simple chords in a waltz strumming pattern. Also, this works incredibly well with the drums, starting off with a focus on the kick drum and occasional snares, during the chorus there begins to be occasional drum fills added in. The drums are one of the most effective sections, they stay fairly simple adding slightly more to the beat throughout the song, however because it is so simple it works perfectly with the rest of the song.
Moving onto the lyrics, which, other than the way the electronic instruments are used, are the biggest showcase of the Lana Del Ray and Fiona Apple influence. According to the singer, songwriter “I wanted to write a big ballad… Something that conveyed everything I was feeling as a woman in her mid-late 20s,trying to navigate this messed-up world we find ourselves in. I hope it might connect with anyone who thought they knew where they were heading and grew up being told anything was possible for them, but now find themselves questioning it all”. It is such a beautiful meaning behind the song and it comes across perfectly, for me one of the stand out lyrics that exemplifies this is “Here I am at least twice my age/at the same time I swear I’m too young/for the next age”, it is such a beautiful example of trying to navigate your age, especially when so many terrible things are happening in the world that you barely have time to accept it.
After listening to this song several times, I can say confidently that emzae may end up being one of the most beautiful lyricists and soulful songwriters as she progresses through her music, I can only hope she grows a cult following she deserves.
emzae releases her debut album ‘All Those Things I Thought I Knew’ on September 1st and you can pre-order the record on vinyl here.