Emma Louise releases new album 'Lilac Everything'
Australian singer-songwriter Emma Louise today releases her third studio album, Lilac Everything. A stunning collection of folk-inspired pop, the bulk of the album was written in Mexico after the release of her second album Supercry in 2016. “I started writing it just before I was going to tour Supercry,” she told Women In Pop. “I was feeling a little bad and I randomly booked a flight to Mexico.” Over the course of two weeks, she churned out ten new songs, and after sending her demos to producer Tobias Jesso Jr on a whim he offered to produce the album for her in Seattle. “I was so happy about because I was so inspired by his music,” Emma Louise says. “We recorded it all live in Seattle and it was the best two weeks of my life. It was just so beautiful.”
And while the genre switch to folk-pop already brings a whole new dimension to Emma Louise’s work, the most startling feature of Lilac Everything are her vocals – throughout the whole album they have pitched down giving her voice a deep, almost masculine quality. It is a brave move that many artists would struggle with, but for Emma Louise it was something she didn’t need to think twice about. “It was honestly the most relieving decision I’ve ever made, musically,” she says. “It just felt so right.”
The altered vocals bring previously unheard qualities and timbres to Emma Louise’s voice, and are in many ways the perfect complement to the threads of melancholy that wind through the album. Emma Louise admits she was going through a ‘dark’ period when writing the album after a particularly bad breakup, which is particularly evident in the first track and single ‘Wish You Well’, a gorgeous ballad with heartbreaking lyrics. “Lie to me / Say that there's still some place we can meet / But if not I wish you well…even though my heart is breaking.” It is a theme that is further explored on ‘Falling Apart’ and ‘Never Making Plans Again’ (“So speaks this emptiness / That echoes every time I step / Still I’m never making plans again.”) and in ‘Mexico’ Emma Louise confronts acceptance and moving on, singing “And if there's nothing I can do to come back to you / Well, I'm gonna let you go in Mexico.”
It’s not all heartbreak and loss though and lighter moments catch the listener by surprise – the rocky, chanting second half of ‘Mexico’ is a prime example. Standout track ‘Gentleman’ is a glorious, stomping track, its tribal sound clearly influenced by Emma Louise’s South American sojourn. It also celebrates a moving on from heartbreak and the opportunity to love again: “He’s a gentleman that’s for sure / He’s my gentleman.”
Lilac Everything isn’t your typical pop release, and is miles away from Emma Louise’s previous electro-tinged releases, but it is perhaps because of that it is such a special release - pop music as art in the most engaging and moving way possible.
More on Emma Louise in Women In Pop soon - stay tuned!