Sunday, January 13, 2008

CD Review: Emmy Rossum--Inside Out

Emmy Rossum--Inside Out

I don't buy CDs very often, because, quite honestly, I receive more free promotional CDs than I can possibly listen to in a lifetime. And usually, in those packages sent to the store, or through the items I pick up at the Vendor Expos at my work conferences, most of what I would have purchased is tucked inside. Still, I purchase a few per year either to support my favorite artists, or because I discover someone new through the overhead music system.

I was at the computer last week, scrolling through the thousands of overhead music CD options, when I saw Emmy Rossum on the list. Think Christine in the film version of Phantom of the Opera, or if you've seen Songcatcher (2000), that's her as well. So, intrigued by what her debut album would sound like, one film role being Appalachian influenced Scots-Irish folksongs, and one being Andrew Lloyd Webber, I added "Inside Out" to the playlist.

What flowed through the speakers wasn't like anything I would have thought a 20-year-old could produce. It has the appeal of a Sarah Brightman's Eden, without all the operatic pieces. It contains the multi-layered vocal harmonies of an Imogen Heap (think of the track Hide & Seek from The Last Kiss Soundtrack) without all the electronica or voice duplicating software. It is a pure style that I don't think I've heard before, and of which I want to hear more.

So I purchased the CD and brought it home Wednesday night. What I heard (and later looked at her website to confirm), is layers and layers and layers, a complex flaky pastry crust, of vocal harmonies...over 150 parts and harmonies on the song 'Slow Me Down' alone... all sung by Emmy. She has no backup singers, but performs all the vocal parts herself and acts as percussion some of the time on various tracks as well, purely using her voice.

This is truly a singer's album, with the instruments playing a supportive role rather than leading the charge as they do on so many Pop albums today. Emmy collaborated on the writing of each of the songs (except for the one cover on the album), and that also lends a very strong sense of credibility to her as an artist and a talent.

You won't hear high sustained operatic vibrato on this album, which is quite refreshing actually, considering that is how most people know her from Phantom. This album has the ability to appeal to teens and adults, since both groups can recognize talent and good music when they hear it, regardless of how much one group may claim the other cannot.

So check it out next time you're in a music store. Also, you can click on the link above to be taken to her website, whereupon "Slow Me Down" will begin playing, followed by two other tracks from the album. Your mind will be boggled when you realize that first track is all Emmy Rossum. Enjoy.


sheila222 said...

Songcatcher and SongcatcherII are two of my favorite albums (or CDs),, she and Dolly singing together- Thanks for the headsup on this CD. And I love that movie.

Martha said...

Loving the samples on her site - I'll probably pick this up. I'm getting a bit of a Sarah McLachlan vibe (which in my book is a good thing).

I'll have to check out the Songcatcher CD, too - sounds like it's right up my alley.