Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Record Review //
Emma Dilemma
"So Becoming"

$20 // //

One of the topics I often discuss with my dad is records and it's interesting because when I'm listening to "So Becoming" I can't help but feel like it is something he would enjoy.   It has that classic feel to it, even in that folk sense of Simon & Garfunkel for example, but there is also a modern vibe with it overall as well.   The first you'll notice about it is the powerful, soothing voice of Emma Dilemma.    Sometimes people who really shouldn't sing end up doing so anyway (and that's okay) but these sound like professionally trained vocal chords and it's just the type of singing everyone should take a moment to listen to and truly appreciate.

In a modern sense I hear some of Dead Sara in these songs.   They are heavenly and can feature strings outside of the commanding guitar.    It's a little bit Bob Denver and a little bit Tom Petty.    In some of the earlier songs it can even feel dark, but by the end you're feeling energized and the last song has this punk rock/Bob Dylan protestor aspect going for it (Which is funny because if you look at the title quickly on the back of the record you might think it says "Protestors" when the song is in fact called "Protectors")

"No Hard Days" has the strings and darkness of a band like Murder By Death and yet then we flow seemlessly into "Soul Searcher" which is just such an understated beauty.    By the flip side you'll start to realize that this is folk because you'll pick up elements of that movie "A Mighty Wind" and the song "Eliot and Loren" just has an overall "Homeward Bound" vibe to it (The song, of course, not that movie with that cat and dog)   "Here We Go" has a definite gypsy/Russian aspect to it which you know I fully enjoy and that makes it my favorite song on this album.

Almost as important as the music itself is what these songs say.   "Allegheny" has the lines "For a while, I was right where I needed to be / You were somewhere so far out of reach" while the last song, "Protectors", leaves us with the most poignant thought: "We'll obey the rights of humanity until we're free".    The lyrics, I feel, are accessible in the sense that they're down to earth and if you've ever lived or loved you can likely relate with them.

Perhaps the biggest reason why I think my dad would enjoy this record and why I think of it in a classic sense is that it does something not a lot of contemporary albums do: it has that feel of an album overall, the highs and lows of songs, the pacing, just what makes a great album a great album and not feel like a collection of songs.    Obviously if this was easier to do everyone would be doing it but since it feels like such rare air you should recognize this quality in "So Becoming", though overall I hope that your biggest takeaway from this record is how relatable these songs can be. 

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