Closer to You is the debut album by Emelie Songs, and the roughly one hour length is just one of its noteworthy attributes. The genres that best describe the music are synthpop and chillwave, along with infusions of synthwave, electric blues, and electro-funk. The soft and beautiful vocals are the highlight of every song on the album, and the moods created are mostly relaxing, uplifting and inspiring.
The album opens with So Strong, which expresses an almost mournful longing while reminding to stay strong to “stay in this dream.” It’s the perfect first track for this collection since most of the songs create a dreamlike feeling.
My Desire is the second track, and it’s hit single material. It brings to mind ideas of the strongest romantic relationships that are addictive, and nearly take over your mind. It’s very catchy, and would make a sweet dance experience with someone you love.
Up next is Teach Me Tiger, a song about wanting to love someone without being sure how, and believing that love will be returned. In addition, it expresses first and inexperienced love. The intense longing in the lyrics is almost frightening, as first loves are nearly always terribly destructive—and this one sounds that way. The song has very relaxing tune with a slow tempo.
Low and Gritty follows, and continues the sad feeling from the preceding track. Sublime guitar melodies carry this song throughout, while the lyrics bring forth feelings of melancholy about a hollow affair. The title of the song perfectly expresses the resulting experiences of such a relationship.
The title track, Closer to You, has a faster tempo, making it a great song for dancing. The vocals are hypnotic, and the music is a merger of synthpop and electro-funk.
Continuing with the dancing music and funk influence is Move That Body. It has lyrics about love making, but it also would invite people to dance as well. Probably not until their blood boils, mind you. The song has a fun and uplifting feeling to it.
Monster has a very ambient intro and a slower tempo again. The electric blues influence is most evident in this track. It has a strong bassline and the ambient elements enhance the blues sound of the guitar.
The fourth song, Tell Me Where, has a faster tempo but is not a typical dance track because the beat and bass are soft at first. There’s a very light and dreamy feeling to the song, with a neat transition to a stronger beat and bassline in the second half.
Restless Soul picks up the soft and dreamy sound, with slower tempo and soft vocals again. The guitar notes enhance the dreamy feeling of the vocals, and the lyrics remind me of all the times I ended relationships that were mismatched and all wrong.
Up next is Naked. This song has hypnotic vocals again with mournful sounding verses. The tempo and mood pick up in the pre-chorus, then returns to the slower, bluesy feel. I think this song is where the album begins to reveal its deeper qualities.
Much Magenta starts off with a neat effect as the music dances between the left and right channels, and it puts you in a different mental state immediately. This song also sounds very dreamy and bluesy. The only problem with the song is the pronunciation of magenta, which is unfortunate because it’s the title and chorus. Nevertheless, the music and vocals enhance the faraway feeling.
The eighth track is called Pure Power. It carries on the feeling from the last track even though it has a faster tempo—very good ordering of the songs on the album. This song is heavily influenced by synthwave, as the synths are enhanced by the vocals rather than the other way around. I think this is one of the best tracks on the album.
Play With Magic is very interesting because the tempo alternates between a faster dance beat, and slower, more cerebral experiences. It has awesome lyrics, and features a man singing briefly after the midpoint of the song, which was a very nice surprise.
Hustler has a faster tempo and dance beat right from the start. Fantastic lyrics with strong vocals that keep your mind focused on the here and now, rather than drifting away with dreamy tunes like many of the other songs. This song has pop style vocals, making it one of the most synthpop genre songs on the album.
The second to last track is Me Samurai. Its super dramatic intro and melody demands attention. The song features sounds reminiscent of the far east, enhancing the foreign feeling without mimicking. I was surprised by the guitar at first, and puzzled over its sound until I realized it isn’t a guitar. It sounds like a shamisen, which makes perfect sense of course.
Last but not least is Walk Alone, which is my favourite track from the album. The somewhat sad lyrics with uplifting vocals, and bluesy guitar melodies give this track a feeling that has no word in the English language. For me that makes this a truly remarkable and unforgettable song.
Overall this album would make a fantastic soundtrack for an intimate house party with friends and a sweetheart, or even a long drive through the countryside. It starts strong but really begins to shine brightest in the second half, as the music draws more from addition genres. I hope to hear the same level of free expression in the music of her future releases as well. This album demonstrates a unique and impressive style that I have never heard before. If you haven’t heard it yourself, the album is available to stream on Spotify or purchase from your favourite online music stores.
Review written by:
June 10, 2019