Emma Blackery: Villains Album Review

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Independent singer/ songwriter Emma Blackery has today (31/08/18) released her debut LP Villains via RWG Records. Consisting of 11 glorious tracks, this formidable full length has already produced 4 extraordinary singles and these being Dirt, Agenda, Icarus and Take Me Out (all 4 came out this year).

For those who aren’t aware of Emma, she’s a sublime talent who made her musical emergence in 2012 with the Human Behavior EP. That was the year Blackery started her very own YouTube channel, as of now she has a loyal fanbase of 1.5 million subscribers. During the following 4 years Emma dropped a further 3 EPs (Perfect, The Distance, Sucks To Be You) which oozes plenty of rock pop goodness. 2017 then saw the unveiling of EP number 5 and this being Magnetised which saw Blackery transition into a pop artist.

Now Villains is a record inspired by a period of reflection and one that invites you on Emma’s journey from, as she explains, “feeling so paranoid that I risked becoming a person I didn’t like, to letting go of all of that hurt”.

Now this was a well written pop masterpiece which left me well and truly hooked. Explosive anthem Villains Pt 1 served as the albums opener and this was a impeccable slice of perfection. Villains Pt 1 was an addictive gem, Emma’s vibrant vocals were husky (I was actually picturing Lana Del Rey) and then you had an enthralling chorus which packed a fierce punch. Those clear cut words basically saw Emma declaring that she’s her own worst villain “I am a maverick/ Built to create/ Designed to destroy/ I am the quiver in your bones/ When you get annoyed/ And I am a nightmare/ These monsters I hold/ I’m bringing them home/ And I am the shiver in your lungs/ When you’re out in the cold”. On my very first play through of I was getting Arya Stark (Game Of Thrones) vibes “I don’t feel anything/ I became possessed/ And obsessed/ With the idea of revenge/ Where you going now/ Everybody’s looking at you/ Cause you set yourself on fire/ Just to light up the room”. Once over it is then onto the first single to be taken from this record and this being the super sassy Dirt. Released back in March this sumptuous song was smothered in synth pop goodness. This was a revenge led track aided by uber contagious lyrics which advises you not to get on Emma’s wrong side “You know I’ve got Dirt on you/ Don’t make me spill it/ I’ve got tea for two/ And bitch I’m gonna sip it/ I know you know somebody’s gonna come out of this fight on top/ It’s gonna be you with the bruises/ Coz I’ve got Dirt on you”. Blackery’s dreamy vocal tones were sugary sweet and paired with the lyrics left me completely mesmerised me. The compelling Agenda was a sparkling tune which celebrated gaining self confidence and saying good riddance to people who want to change who you are “So what are you after/ Don’t you like my colours?/ I’m confident and I know it scares ya/ Scares ya/ Bye Bye, good riddance/ The rules have been rewritten/ I’m better without you/ And that’s the truth/ Not part of your agenda”. This captivating cut oozed plenty of synth pop goodness and Emma’s were candy coated. Everything about this glitzy number was so impeccable, those uplifting lyrics put a huge smile on my face. Fake Friends was a majestical synth pop anthem which had been perfectly produced. That marvelous melody took me on a nostalgic trip back to the 80s. Actually I was reminded of Scottish synth pop trio Chvrches. Still I adored this tantalising track, Blackery’s vocals were impeccable and the lyrics were uber contagious. It actually pointed to a well known couple who are going through a rough patch but as they are in the public eye they have to act out everything is OK  “I’ve got your number/ In many ways/ You like the drama/ So what you saying now/ This game we’re playing now/ Where we pretend that we’re good/ You’re not forgiven/ For what you did/ But out in public/ We’re in the same clique/ Think I could work with this/ I got you understood/ Just know you’re role/ And we’ll be Fake Friends”. Once over it was then onto a double of dosage of singles and first up it was Icarus. This succulent song was so chilled with a tropical/ calypso twist which sent shivers down my spine. Those luscious lyrics saw Emma delve into some Greek Mythology, now the story goes that Icarus father made him some wings made of wax. Icarus then flew too close to the sun, the wings melted resulting him drowning in the sea. This lyrics saw Blackery refer to herself as Icarus and mention how retaliating to negativity would result in people wanting to see her fall. Take Me Out was a whimsical ballad aided by brutally honest lyrics revolving around paranoia “I put these walls up/ Questioning the motives of my friends/ They can’t be trusted/ I’m finding that I’m the only one I have/ Next time you see me/ I wont stop to say hello/ Cause I know what you want/ And I know what I’m in for/ I’m lurking in the shadows/ Biding my time/ Whatcha gonna do, whatcha gonna do/ Whatcha gonna do to Take Me Out”. The song title actually refers to how people would want to take you out with negative comments. This then results in paranoia which isn’t healthy. Still this sumptuous song was packed with relatable verses and an uplifting chorus. Petty was a relaxing acoustic led treat with an added tropical house twist. Emma’s charming tones were gentle whilst those lyrics recounted a past relationship she was in and how it turned sour “You used to call me pretty/ Till you took out the r/ So girl you couldn’t be more Petty than you already are/ Are you mad cause I wrote songs about you breaking my heart/ So boy, you used to call me pretty/ Till you took out the r”I’m no songwriter but I guess it’s easy to pen addictive tracks based on personal experience. Take Taylor Swift for example. Third Eye was tinged with disco vibes, this was an exhilarating number packed with contagious lyrics which I fell for hook line and sinker. Once over it was then back to the synth pop, ballad What I Felt With You was tinged with emotion and saw Blackery recount the happier times with an ex lover “Sometimes I miss your touch/ And whispers that made me blush/ But I guess I don’t miss love/ If that’s What I Felt With You/ So far from what we knew/ But, I did what I had to do/ Now, I can’t stand the colour blue/ Cause that’s What I Felt With You”. Both Emma’s restrained vocals and melody meshed together perfectly which resulted in something which brought a lump to my throat. These lyrics were so clear cut and they painted a vivid picture within my minds eye. If there is a 5th single lifted from Villains, I hope it’s this one. Penultimate track Burn The Witch was an anthem in the making, those verses were sublime and the chorus packed a weighty punch “I’m  liar, I’m a bitch/ And you and I have all finished business/ Narcissistic everything/ And I’m petty as hell/ But at least I admit it/ Blow my phone up, say I’m crazy/ I know what you’ve called me lately/ It’s time to Burn The Witch”. Things then reached its conclusion with Villains Pt 2, when compared to the opener these 2 songs are so different in style. Villains Pt 2 was a synth smothered tune with beautiful beats which took me back to the 1980s. Delivered with plenty of gusto, this enchanting song saw Emma Blackery admit her flaws “I admit I’m afraid/ To face what comes next/ Where do I turn when I’ve turned on my friends/ What if I don’t want it/ What if I don’t want it/ Am I kidding myself”. This was an explosive way to close an extraordinary record, Blackery literally put her heart and soul into this tasty track. Actually Emma’s description of how she felt so paranoid she risked becoming a person she didn’t like perfectly summed up this track.

Villains can be purchased on iTunes or her Official Store

VILLAINS PROMOTIONAL HMV IN-STORE TOUR 
31/08 – HMV Southend (5:30pm) 
01/09 – HMV London, Oxford Street (2.30pm) 
02/09 – HMV Nottingham (2pm) 
03/09 – HMV Bristol, Broadmead (5:30pm) 
04/09 – HMV Leeds (5:30pm) 
05/09 – HMV Liverpool (5:30pm) 
06/09 – HMV Belfast (5:30pm)

UK/EUROPE 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

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