Jack Lawrence reviews 'the gate', an intriguing return for Bjork that yet lacks the vital eccentricities of her best workWritten by Jack Lawrence on 20th September 2017
Album Review: Caro Emerald – The Shocking Miss Emerald
Have you ever been sick and tired of the noisy, hectic modern life? Have you ever been fed up with the 21st century? Have you ever dreamed of living in the glamorous 50’s? No...
Have you ever been sick and tired of the noisy, hectic modern life? Have you ever been fed up with the 21st century? Have you ever dreamed of living in the glamorous 50's? Now you can make this dream come true, at least for fourty-nine minutes. The time machine you need for your journey is Caro Emerald's second studio album The Shocking Miss Emerald, which can be described by using many adjectives, but 'shocking' certainly isn't one of them.
On the contrary, the record is exactly what everyone expected it to be – and hoped it would be. Caroline Esmeralda van der Leeuw (Caro Emerald's real name) fortunately doesn't feel the need to change her sound and jump on the electro-pop bandwagon. Instead, she keeps doing what she is brilliant at and releases a sophomore album with thirteen jazz-pop songs that now and then have tango influences and from the very first to the very last second create a unique atmosphere that immediately sends you back to the 50's. More precisely, the album sends you to the fabulous city of Paris in the 1950's, because the capital of France was the inspiration for the record. This is obvious, with song titles such as 'Excuse My French' or 'Paris', as well as many allusions to the fashion world, for instance to Louie Vuitton suitcases on 'Pack Up The Louie' or to the German designer Karl Lagerfeld on 'The Maestro'.
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The Shocking Miss Emerald features surprisingly diverse lyrical topics, telling tales of love, changes and life in general. It is remarkable how many different facets of love are mentioned. These include not being able to decide between two lovers on the first single and very radio-friendly track 'Tangled Up', as well as being happy in a new relationship and seeing everything through rose-coloured glasses on 'Completely'.
Other notable additions to the amazing lyrical diversity of the record are the witty 'Come Back As A Man', in which Caro Emerald plans to disguise herself as a man to be allowed to speak her mind and have a strong personality, and the best song on the album that is called 'Liquid Lunch' and describes Miss Emerald drinking with her girls and ending up with a hangover again and again. With its light-hearted, yet cleverly written lyrics and its catchy melody, this song instantly makes you want to dance and eclipses all other tracks on the record, including the epic ballad 'Black Valentine' and the slow 'I Belong To You', which seems to have borrowed the melody of its chorus from the James Bond song 'The World Is Not Enough' by Garbage.
The Shocking Miss Emerald is a worthy successor of the extremely successful Deleted Scenes From The Cutting Room Floor, showing impressively that Caro Emerald, who actually co-wrote many songs on the record, is extremely good at making witty, uptempo summer songs like 'Liquid Lunch' and 'Pack Up The Louie', while also being able to deliver dramatic and haunting ballads. On her sophomore album she is once again paying homage to the glamorous side of the 1950's and recalling a time when love was lost and found in glittering casinos and everyone watched their dreams come true on large screens in luxurious cinemas.