Emma Blackery is nothing if not very busy. A singer-songwriter who’s probably equally known for her YouTube vlogging, as well as her writing – she released her debut book last year, ‘Feel Good 101: The Outsiders’ Guide to a Happier Life‘, based on a series of videos on her main YouTube channel – she’s been releasing music 2012. She’s also toured extensively, most notably for us here at EP, when she supported Busted and Wheatus on their UK tour in 2016. ‘Villains’, out tomorrow, is her first full length album, after five EPs.
The eleven track ‘Villains‘ is a deeply personal and therefore highly introspective album, but for those of us who are familiar with Blackery’s music, this shouldn’t come as any surprise – her previous most recent release ‘Magnetised‘ was also a concept album which looked inside her life. Opening – and closing – with ‘Villians’, we’re immediately struck by the musical style, which is a lot more pop/rock than that of ‘Magnetised’. Her vocal technique is also appealing, there’s a really pleasant lispy way of singing, which we quite enjoy.
From the outset we’re struck by who on earth could have hurt her so much. It feels as though she could be pointing the finger at those who misjudge her, whether it be personally, professionally, or on social media. This is nowhere clearer than on track two ‘Dirt‘, with its EDM vibes, lyrically, with their mention of Twitter, and having dirt on someone. Our curiousity is piqued – who is she singing about! Following on with ‘Agenda‘ we’re taken by the way ‘AGENDA’ is spelled out: ‘Villians’ strikes us as being a bit of a feminist album, and this track is a bit of a latter day version of ‘R.E.S.P.E.C.T’. Although the timing was accidental, it’s a nice touch in light of the recent death of Aretha Franklin. We’re enjoying Emma’s Essex sound as well, it conveys a girl-next-door image, and makes us feel even more sympathy for her.
By the time of ‘Fake Friends‘, the fourth song on the album, we’re deep into her story. Opening up with an intro that reminds us of ‘Radio Ga Ga’ by Queen, we’re left in no doubt that Emma has been hurt deeply, with lyrics such as “Just know your role and we’ll be fake friends”. Who has done this to her!
We’ve covered the single, ‘Icarus‘ not too long ago, and were touched by the lyrics. Emma is clearly a gifted writer, and has a very clever writing style:
“Icarus Icarus why you so serious serious
You know you’ve got to let it go because you’re flying too close”
Likewise, track 6, ‘Take Me Out‘, with simple but meaningful words, “you are the liar I am the fire” – we see she has problems with trust, and letting people get close.
Another very clever song, ‘Petty‘:
“Boy you used to call me pretty before you took out the R
said girl you couldn’t be more petty than you already are”
This is fairly obviously aimed at an ex, and we wonder if we’d even give that person the time of day. But track 8, ‘Third Eye‘, with its upbeat disco sound, takes us way from feeling sad for a few minutes. It’s got a nice ABBA-y vibe, which we really enjoyed.
‘What I Felt With You‘ is our favourite song on the album. Again, we have Blackery’s beautifully clever lyricism:
“I remember when you stole my heart
then you handed me the map to where you buried it
so I could run and get it back”
“I can’t stand the colour blue because that’s what I felt with you”
‘Villians‘ concludes with the very familiar sounding ‘Burn The Witch‘, and ‘Villains Pt 2‘. We’re left wondering who is the biggest villain, is it all the external forces or is it Emma herself? Is she her own worst enemy?
Overall, ‘Villians’ is a very moving, deeply introspective and personal album. It’s a rollercoaster of a listen, but it’ll appeal to both fans and the casual listener alike.
Emma will be performing live and signing her album at HMV stores around the UK starting tomorrow. You can find more information here. Irish fans can also catch her at Whelans, Dublin, on September 8. Further details here.
She’s also touring the UK and Europe extensively in support of the album’s release, finishing with a headline show at London’s KOKO on October 25th. Full headline tour dates can be found below:
UK/EUROPE HEADLINE TOUR OCTOBER 2018
4th – Parkteatret, Oslo
6th – Bar Brooklyn, Stockholm
7th – Beta, Copenhagen
9th – Sugar Factory, Amsterdam
10th – Nochstpeicher, Hamburg
12th – Musik & Freiden, Berlin
13th – B72, Vienna
14th – Feierwerk, Munich
16th – Luxor, Koln
17th – Zoom, Frankfurt
20th – Academy 2, Manchester
21st – O2 Institute 2, Birmingham
22nd – Garage, Glasgow
24th – Tramshed, Cardiff
25th – Koko, London
Tickets are available now through My Ticket.