After listening to this album, I wanted to talk about it. I missed the one year anniversary of this album, but better late than never. Now, I want to give a preface to this album. I watched the vlog series Emma did on the year of her making this album. It was a really nice insight into her every day life whilst making her debut album. She discussed the process of making an album and how artistically draining it is. It was fascinating to watch and it kept me inspired whilst I wrote my FYP last year. After purchasing the album, I went to see Emma perform some of her songs live in a small show in Dublin. She is a really good singer. I would love to see her again, and I loved the songs being performed live.
I talked about Emma Blackery’s music in a previous Poets in Music, but I didnt look at a lot of her music until Villains came out last year. So I’ve listened to her album and I wanted to talk about it. My first thoughts on Villains was how petty it was, but that was the point. I loved how she dragged people through the dirt and especially herself (well talk about that later). It was a stereotypical pop album. I’m not the biggest fan of pop music and the lyrics are good, not exceptional. But I loved the premise of her album. It inspired the first draft of my poetry project. Since then, I’ve changed the trajectory of the project, but it was Villains that started that process. So let me tell you about Emma Blackey’s debut album, Villains.
The premise of the album came from a list of people Emma kept as her villains. To differiante between her villains and her friends, she made a mental list to separate the two. This album is based off that list of villains she had collected.
Villains Part 1
The first song on the track list introduces Emma’s character as a destroyer and to be warned as a listener. Not everything is as it seems. This describes the deception of the album and the narrative it is trying to portray. This track list is a list of her villains, but she began her album with a track, describing herself as a maverick and welcome to the show. Curtain call and move onto the next song. This song was a great starting point for the album, as it foreshadows the central point of Emma’s own mental struggles with her friends and the battles she faced with her enemies.
When I heard this song for the first time, I couldn’t help but laugh. Now dont get me wrong, its catchy and it grows on you slightly. But the lyrics make me burst out laughing. Let’s spill the tea on those haters and all that. It feels like a deceptive track for the rest of the album as it was one of the sillier ones in my opinion. But it enters you into this pop feel that Emma wants to portray throughout. But as you go along, you find yourself listening to darker lyrics.
This is my least favourite song off her album. No hate or shade. I just dont like the song. It’s the song I always skip in the album to move onto the next track. I get the vibe to it and it has a powerful message of being who you are and forget the people who want you to follow the status quo. But I just didnt vibe with this track.
We’ve all been here at some point. To be friends with someone but keep each other at a distance. I know the darker side of you and I can reveal all. But I keep the peace so that you dont draw your sword against me. I enjoyed the upbeat sound to the track as it discusses the toxicity of friendships. However, this is the first track where it shows Emma’s tendency towards revenge. The only reason I’m not revealing the evil truth about you to everyone is because I’m not innocent either. You could reveal a lot more about me than I can about you. It showcases the character of the maverick mentioned in track 1.
Definitely one of my favourite songs from the album. Emma uses beautiful melodies with this song and I feel like it’s underappreciated compared to the other tracks. Emma writes about a person who cant accept where they went wrong. While everyone turns against them for the wrongs they committed, the person contests and refuses to apologise. She compares this person to the mythological character of Icarus, as he flew too close to the sun. Emma discusses someone with a massive ego. Just know where you went wrong, apologize and move on. Or else, you’ll end up burning up and falling to your death, like Icarus.
Take Me Out
I have a love/hate relationship to this song. I hate the chorus but it has some lyrics that resonates with me so heavily. Emma talks about the mentality of you against the world. I cant trust anyone around me, due to the experiences I’ve had. Believe me, I feel you Emma. One lyric in the song in particular that I love is;
“I put these walls up / Questioning the motives of my friends / they cant be trusted / I’m finding I’m the only one I have”
This song showcases the paranoia and social anxiety of having people around you that you cant trust. They may not have done anything to warrant this, but based off past experiences, you assume the worst. Emma reveals that sad internal conflict under the hard exterior she portrays throught the maverick character. She continues with that line of thought when she uses the title line, “I’ll take you out.”
As the title of the tracks suggests, this song is really petty and I love it. Emma based this song off a guy she dated, that called her petty and now, talks about her a lot since the break-up. This song is pettiness at its finest. Emma sings about how this song will take her places that he cant follow, as he continues to use her name for attention. Adding to the infectious beat, I always find myself coming back to this song and never getting tired of it.
This song discusses more about this toxic individual who loves to cause chaos wherever they go. Emma sings about this person trying to manipulate everyone around her, along with her. She attempts to stay on top of this person and their deception. Emma attempts to give herself insight with her third eye. With the third eye, Emma is in control and wins against the toxic nature of this other human being. This song has become a fan favourite and I can see why, as it is the best song to dance to and Emma’s vocals are really good in this one.
What I Felt with you
As Emma put it, it’s a very lush song. A love song that talks about the sadness of a break-up. I want to know how you are doing, but I dont want to know about her. I dont think I can handle you being happy. It’s a sad song hidden under the upbeat tempo Emma establishes throughout her album. As the album progresses to the end, the upbeat sound continues as the songs get darker.
Burn the witch
This is my favourite song from the album. I think it encompasses the whole meaning behind Emma’s psyche when constructing this album. These people on her list want to destroy her, and when she attempts to reveal the truth about them, no one believes her. But her main point, “karma is a bitch and she’s coming for you.” Karma is my mantra and this song puts that into perspective as the whole theme to the album. She places her enemies on a pry and sets them alight. Everyone knows the evil truth about them, and Emma’s pettiness towards was justified.
Villains part 2
This last song becomes a final note from emma to the listener. She tells her audience that this list she constructed is gone. She threw it away, and that she has to put blame on herself. The construction of the album’s narrative centres on the people who wronged emma and her shading them. However, she accepts in Villains part 2 that she was the main villain all along. She divided people in her life into categories and never considered that she may be in the wrong. She accepts in this final track, that she was the villain and what must she do next to change that. She alludes this fact in the very first track of the album. But the album allows you to take a trip through Emma’s constructed list and her psyche. Then it opens your eyes to how destructive this was to begin with. Sure, it’s great to shade the people who hurt you. But the best way to heal from these things is to accept their point of view and what role you played in that destructive situation. Emma does this at the end. She accepts her toxic behaviour and hopes to move on from it.
For Project Cherophobia, I originally took inspiration from Emma Blackery’s album. I constructed a list of people in my life, the good and the bad. I designed the project behind the people who made up my life. But similar to Villains, it felt toxic to centre on the bad people. It wasnt just bad people, it was bad situations. So I decided to centre my project on the essential years of my life, but still keep the works I had on these people. I changed my trajectory. I appreciate the pettiness and shade emma gives in this album. I mean same girl, but it was vital that she accept her part in all of this at the end. You can be the villain in your own story. The overall sound to Emma’s album was good, but I stayed for the concept behind it all.
I’ll be just looking forward to see what she has coming next. And based off her latest video, it sounds interesting. Hope you enjoyed this post. I’ll talk to you in the next one.