Miss Emily   Defined By Love

In a world where mass media tend to generalize everything, it is easy for an individual to be defined by one facet of their life. In many cases, they can be associated to something they would never want to be defined by, like their career choice, their appearance or an action they most regret.

In the case of many an artist they are defined by their voice or their instrument of choice. Many artists are pigeonholed as one genre or another, their art rigidly judged by someone else’s tastes. This is unfair to those artists whose music expands genres, or bridges them.

Case in point, Miss Emily and her latest album, “Defined By Love”. It would be easy to judge her based on her powerful vocals, she has the voice of an angel, but this album puts forth a much deeper and more complicated musical entity. 

When I listen to this album I hear more than a voice. I heard the heart and soul behind that voice, the life experiences of the magnificent woman that is Miss Emily as expressed in Soul, RnB, Blues and straight up Rock & Roll.

The album opens with the retro sounding title track that catches the heart and expresses the idea that being defined by love is not limited to one love. It can be many things, the loves of our lives: parents, children, pets, work, friends, lovers, strange familiars and life in general are all things we can love, and those loves are what define us.

The second cut, “Silver Lining” has a wonderfully quirky rock sound, with funky undertones. Inside every dark cloud hides a silver lining, waiting to be discovered. We know it is there, we just need to look for it and treasure it, once it is found.

From the first beat this third cut on the album, “Glory”, has a wonderful old school soul sound, perfectly expressed by Emily’s masterful vocals. The emotion expressed is real, close to the heart and indicative of the passion that Emily puts into her music.

The next cut is the heartfelt ballad “This Road”. About owning our choices, and living with the consequences, this song is beautifully simple and simply beautiful. Like every cut on this album, there’s nothing put on here, it is honest and genuine straight from the heart!

The fifth cut on the album, “Respect Your Mother” has a funky groove and feel, plus an important lesson for those who seem to have lost the ability to show simple respect in the modern world. Every day we all face personal struggle, but that need not stop us from showing simple respect or exercising common sense, either in the minute detail of one on one Motherly love, or respecting the earth as the Mother of us all.

The sixth cut, “One Song Left”, is a personal plea to someone on the threshold of adult life, but badly in need of some good advice. It’s an offer of support or at least some sage direction in trying to deal with life as it exists. 

Up next is the only cover on the album, as Emily takes on Radiohead’s “Just”. She gives it her own spin with R n B undertones, the song explores self-realization and the ability to accept our mistakes in stride  No exploration of the human condition can be truly called complete without a song that gives the stark realization that many of the issues we suffer through, we do them to ourselves.

Right from the opening vocals of the eighth cut, “Make It Rain”, you know you are walking straight into something special. I mentioned earlier Miss Emily’s “Powerful Vocals”, and they are fully on display in this soulful power ballad.

Up next, “Friends, Lovers, Foes” walks the fine line that we all must walk when navigating the dangerous ideas that separates them all. Especially in our modern society when the lines are so deeply blurred. Let’s face it, one person could be all three in very short order.

Next is the beautiful and heartfelt ballad, “Three Words”. Beautifully stripped down, just vocals and piano, Emily speaks to the heart in ways only she can. The range and timber of her voice becomes a vehicle for the kind of emotion that can only be expressed in ‘those three words’.

The next cut, “End of the World” (written by Colin and John Angus from The Trews) is a sweet soul groove, with a light dusting of blues, designed to capture the heart. With the wonderful harmonies it holds you in it’s spell like the feel of a Gladys Knight & The Pips classic style.

The album closes with “The Keeper” (co-written with Rob Baker), perhaps the perfect summation of the emotional journey that this album is. A sweet lament made rich with Emily’s angelic voice. With the feel of holding your hand through the hardest of times, this cut opens the door to hope, inviting us to walk through.

This isn’t just a collection of songs, “Defined By Love” is a sweet journey, a winding wander through the idea of Love, in its many facets, and how we try to navigate it. (Terry Parsons)