The name Emily Wolfe may be familiar to a few music lovers that associate the name with blues-rock guitar, she is so handy with the six-string that Gibson introduced a signature guitar for her in March. But following on from her self-titled debut album where it was firmly based in blues, she has decided to take a different path and, my Lordy Lord, it’s a doozie!
There is no shortage of pop starlets in the music world, each trying to force an individual path to gather as many fans a long the way, but ‘Outlier’ can sit toe to toe with anything the likes of Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry, Dua Lipa, Rita Ora or Taylor Swift puts out (in fact, if this was released by any one of these artists, they would have Grammy’s and Brits hanging from their arms like baubles on a Christmas tree!).
This album is that good!
The album consists of ten little gems that, put together make up a collection of songs that embrace the power of electronic music and lays it alongside strong lyrics, assured musicianship and a voice that is haunting, playful and knowing at the same time.
There are nods to artists like Laura Mvula and Goldfrapp (particularly in ‘Vermillion Park’) and the production is bang-on perfectly pitched to appeal to fans of a wide spectrum of musical tastes. This is pop that will appeal to teens, but also has a grown-up feel to it that holds enough interest for an older audience. Like I said before, if this was an Taylor Swift album, this would be being played everywhere.
There are similarities between Wolfe and Swift, in the way that both seem to evoke a dreamy, haunting view of America. Tales of prom nights, long drives through dark roads towards an endless horizon and the sleepy small town rural communities that put as much emphasis on their high school quarterback as they do their apple pie. Wolfe does this with ease and any of the ten songs on offer here could easily be on repeat on any commercial radio station.
I haven’t heard her debut album, but on the strength of this, I will be very soon, but I hope this is the start of something more settled because, based on this album, she is someone who might not only be closing in on the high heels of the pop diva’s but could quickly overtake them.
If I was in the business of handing out five-star reviews, this would be one.
If you like grown-up pop but are turned off by the shiny, over-produced, one-size-fits-all output of the easily forgotten music we’re ‘treated’ to nowadays, give this a shot, because this is what pop music should be, accessible, enjoyable and memorable.