Emarosa – 131: First Listen

Info: Released July 8, 2016; 39 mins; 11 songs

A friend at work introduced me to Emarosa a few months ago and I was satisfied, but not immediately swept away. I saved some of their songs to my Spotify and went on with my life. Once again, I was not able to attend Warped Tour (this year’s line up was phenomenal). BUT thanks to technology, I was able to watch the first day in Dallas online. I don’t remember seeing Emarosa perform that day, but after watching the live stream I was left with a high that I did not want to squander. So I went onto my Spotify and started off by listening to State Champs, then Mayday Parade, then New Found Glory. While searching for my next artist, I found the Vans Warped Tour 2016 playlist, so basically I hit the jackpot. I pressed shuffle play and behold, I was immersed in a world of music I had always known and loved intertwined with new artists that I was learning to appreciate. Among these artists was Emarosa. ‘Broken VS the way we were born’ came on and when I opened my phone to save the song I realized it was already saved. I had heard this before. That was the start of my love for this band. I know it’s been about a week since their new album came out, but I am finally getting around to listening to it. So here is my review of Emarosa’s 131: First Listen.

Hurt – The background vocal harmonies are perfect. I love the sultry and slow entrance to the song and then the huge bang! Lead singer, Bradley Walden’s vocal control is amazing. The guitarist is playing a very simple chord progression making it an easy song to follow. The lyrics are very simple, but also powerful and relatable. Everyone has hurt someone, and we’re all sorry about something.

Once Car Garage – Love the slow pace of the bridge. The lyrics of this song are detailed and definitely telling a story, the vocals are just okay though. “Tangled up in hope, but I feel like someone else’s coffin.” The final stretch of the song is great.

Sure – This song gives me Bring me the Horizon sort of vibes and I like it. I appreciate the subtle electric guitar in the background. The three part background harmonies are definitely something they should continue to incorporate into their work because it’s working for them. Love the chorus. He yells the lyrics at the bridge, but it’s still musical it’s not a screamo type yell (nothing against screamo, I sometimes indulge in it) and his voice is still so pure.

Miracle – The intro prepares you for the feel of the song. Chill tempo, smooth vocals. Emarosa’s strength is in their bridge sequences and their harmonies. Walden’s vocal fluctuation, crescendo, and use of varying octaves is pleasing to my ears.

Cloud 9 – I accidentally chose this song first when I was trying to listen. (Come to find out this was the first single they released for the album) I like the guitar sequence and the simplicity of the drum tempo. It’s on every off beat. I am not sure about how I feel about the muffled sound. The chorus is really catchy, but not in the terrible radio pop kind of way. I was not expecting the mini choir at the end, but I love that addition. It’s really a feel good song.

Helpless – I am getting a more classic rock vibe from this song mixed with British indie pop. The electric guitar has a fairly consistent guitar run that is unique and definitely assists to the flow/vibe of the song. This is one of those songs you listen to after a break up because you relate, but you’re also trying to pick yourself up. I love that they enunciate their words well because I don’t really have to look up lyrics to get the basic message.

Porcelain – Slower song. Subtle guitar with dominant piano. This is the kind of song I could see myself crying to. Around the middle of the song the tempo starts picking up and his voice seems to fill with more emotion. Side note, their album art is (great). Song is obviously about a girl that he is in love with. Chorus is basically two sentences repeated over and over, but the words are powerful and don’t seem irritatingly repetitive.

Never – Shorter song, with a slightly faster tempo. I don’t know who is the female featured, but their voices mesh well. “Never gonna leave, never gonna hurt you. Just say yes.” I love when he plays around with higher octaves. As the album goes on their is more passion interweaved into each song and his execution of the lyrics. I appreciate the fact that when they talk about love and women it is in the sense of wanting a steady potentially eternal relationship. No one night stands or temporary commitments. Based on their lyrics, they’re all in.

Young lonely – Chill entrance, I don’t know what kind of guitar they’re using for the main chord sequence, but I love the sound. It reminds me of something out of Twilight’s soundtrack. Then your typical rock sound is introduced for the chorus. It’s a perfect mixture of the two. His transition to falsetto is smooth in the chorus. The electric guitar’s chord progression during the bridge is (great). If this song came out in 2006 this would’ve been among the emo child’s anthems. The subtle choir comes back towards the end for a split second and that adds a whole new sound to it.

Blue – More post hardcore/metal core rock sound. I love that the music is always present, but never overpower his vocals. The chorus contains a lot of antiphony and I haven’t heard such a good demonstration of this since Mayday Parade’s first few albums. Yesssss his vocal range is beautiful. The guitar kind of has a Hawaiian tangy sound (don’t know how else to explain it). The base guitar’s chord progression leads the vibe.

Re – I am liking the instrumental to this one a lot. Did they play this song at Warped? It sounds like the one they played while he was hanging upside down from the stage yesterday in Scranton, PA. I kind of feel like the musicians are overpowering his vocals in this song, but the antiphony is still good. I wish more people would utilize this musical technique. I don’t know if it was best to end the album with this song, but it does have that “this is the end” sort of feeling so it’s okay. The drummer is FINALLY showing us what he’s made of. Love the drums in this song. The broken TV/dying amp sound towards the end is a good way to end the album in general. This song was kind of the climax to what seemed to be a never ending love story that we thought was going well, but actually went totally wrong.

Conclusion: Overall, a great album and a good holistic album at that. I love how the vibe was consistent, but the tempos varied so it wasn’t like listening to Lorde’s first album (which was basically one 45 min long song). I love the lead singer’s voice and that he is utilizing his vocal range, beyond what may be comfortable to him. I encourage you to listen to this album and let me know your thoughts in the comment space below. Also comment if there are any specific albums you would like me to review/if you have suggestions on how to improve my reviews!

***So I’ve continued listening the album on repeat for the past few hours and I realized something amazing!!! The last song on the album, Re is actually a reprise compilation of key verses from the entire album overlaying each other. It is amazing, and although I critiqued it the hardest during my initial listen, this is genius and definitely one of my favorite tracks on the album.***


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