PopMatters is moving to WordPress. We will publish a few essays daily while we develop the new site. We hope the beta will be up sometime late next week.

Emily Blue Releases Art Pop EP Blasting Patriarchal Roles (EP stream) (premiere)

Emily Blue makes art pop overflowing with instant hooks while fusing their catchiness with cutting social commentary as on her new EP, *69.

In an alternate reality where Top 40 music is more than a corporate commodity catering to masses of the lowest common denominator, Emily Blue's music is topping the charts. With her effervescently dayglo new EP, *69, the Chicago songwriter continues her trend of making art pop overflowing with instant hooks, while fusing their catchiness with cutting social commentary. Being able to make patriarchy-blasting, feminism-championing tunes that are also unapologetically fun is no small feat.

Blue, formerly of Chicago indie rockers Tara Terra, released her solo debut EP, Another Angry Woman, in November 2016. Comparatively of the singer-songwriter mold, the mini record was dedicated to victims of sexual abuse and gendered violence, its song cycle reflecting such vital topics.

"After Another Angry Woman, I was exhausted as a writer and person," Blue said. "Talking/singing about past trauma all the time was too hard on me, and so I wanted to make a record that left me feeling powerful, confident, and fun. *69 is … a lot different. It's spastic, sexual, and strong."

*69 indeed marks a stylistic growth, its subject matter still focused on the topical, but with an approach of wild abandon. Across its neon-radiating five songs, Blue takes the theatricality and harmonies of vintage girl groups and remixes them with a futuristic bent. Glitchy electronics and trippy beats are mainstays, with the sensually weaving, sexually charged, and bass-throbbing "Microscope" luring the listener gently in. Things explode in the second track, "Dum Blonde", a certifiable anthem of female empowerment wherein Blue proclaims "You've got to know your power / You've got to know your power" amid flashes of noise rock distortion.

Bouncy and jubilant third cut "Falling in Love" most fits the bill of Blue's own description of her sound as "cotton candy pop" — which isn't to say it's saccharine fluff. On its heels is the moody and yearning "Waterfallz", with its zeroing-in of seductive longing and sonic dynamics calling to mind FKA twigs. Blue returns to a deceptively whimsical approach on closer and lead single "Cellophane", a kiss-off number in which she coos "You could not possess me / Though you would undress me" before segueing into the hear-it-once-and-be-instantly-singing-it chorus of "Don't you wish everything was still / Wrapped up in cellophane / Put it by the door and walk away … I wrap my love in cellophane / In cellophane."

That such a range of tones and musical approaches seamlessly bleed into one another while sharing an identifiable template is a testament to the depth of Blue's artistry. And, truly, that is what pop should be — a medium rife with arresting melodies that retains an artist's responsibility to question arbitrary societal mores.

Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology and hosting provider that we have less than a month, until November 6, to move PopMatters off their service or we will be shut down. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to save the site.





The 13 Greatest Horror Directors of All Time

In honor of Halloween, here are 13 fascinating fright mavens who've made scary movies that much more meaningful.


British Jazz and Soul Artists Interpret the Classics on '​Blue Note Re:imagined'

Blue Note Re:imagined provides an entrance for new audiences to hear what's going on in British jazz today as well as to go back to the past and enjoy old glories.


Bill Murray and Rashida Jones Add Another Shot to 'On the Rocks'

Sofia Coppola's domestic malaise comedy On the Rocks doesn't drown in its sorrows -- it simply pours another round, to which we raise our glass.


​Patrick Cowley Remade Funk and Disco on 'Some Funkettes'

Patrick Cowley's Some Funkettes sports instrumental renditions from between 1975-1977 of songs previously made popular by Donna Summer, Herbie Hancock, the Temptations, and others.


The Top 10 Definitive Breakup Albums

When you feel bombarded with overpriced consumerism disguised as love, here are ten albums that look at love's hangover.


Dustin Laurenzi's Natural Language Digs Deep Into the Jazz Quartet Format with 'A Time and a Place'

Restless tenor saxophonist Dustin Laurenzi runs his four-piece combo through some thrilling jazz excursions on a fascinating new album, A Time and a Place.


How 'Watchmen' and 'The Boys' Deconstruct American Fascism

Superhero media has a history of critiquing the dark side of power, hero worship, and vigilantism, but none have done so as radically as Watchmen and The Boys.


Floodlights' 'From a View' Is Classicist Antipodal Indie Guitar Pop

Aussie indie rockers, Floodlights' debut From a View is a very cleanly, crisply-produced and mixed collection of shambolic, do-it-yourself indie guitar music.


CF Watkins Embraces a Cool, Sophisticated Twang on 'Babygirl'

CF Watkins has pulled off the unique trick of creating an album that is imbued with the warmth of the American South as well as the urban sophistication of New York.


Helena Deland Suggests Imagination Is More Rewarding Than Reality on 'Something New'

Canadian singer-songwriter Helena Deland's first full-length release Someone New reveals her considerable creative talents.


While the Sun Shines: An Interview with Composer Joe Wong

Joe Wong, the composer behind Netflix's Russian Doll and Master of None, articulates personal grief and grappling with artistic fulfillment into a sweeping debut album.


Peter Frampton Asks "Do You Feel Like I Do?" in Rock-Solid Book on Storied Career

British rocker Peter Frampton grew up fast before reaching meteoric heights with Frampton Comes Alive! Now the 70-year-old Grammy-winning artist facing a degenerative muscle condition looks back on his life in his new memoir and this revealing interview.


Bishakh Som's 'Spellbound' Is an Innovative Take on the Graphic Memoir

Bishakh's Som's graphic memoir, Spellbound, serves as a reminder that trans memoirs need not hinge on transition narratives, or at least not on the ones we are used to seeing.


Gamblers' Michael McManus Discusses Religion, Addiction, and the Importance of Writing Open-Ended Songs

Seductively approachable, Gamblers' sunny sound masks the tragedy and despair that populate the band's debut album.


Peter Guralnick's 'Looking to Get Lost' Is an Ode to the Pleasures of Writing About Music

Peter Guralnick's homage to writing about music, 'Looking to Get Lost', shows how good music writing gets the music into the readers' head.


In Praise of the Artifice in George Cukor's 'Sylvia Scarlett'

George Cukor's gender-bending Sylvia Scarlett proposes a heroine who learns nothing from her cross-gendered ordeal.


The Cure: Ranking the Albums From 13 to 1

Just about every Cure album is worth picking up, and even those ranked lowest boast worthwhile moments. Here are their albums, spanning 29 years, presented from worst to best.


The 20 Best Episodes of 'Star Trek: The Original Series'

This is a timeless list of 20 thrilling Star Trek episodes that delight, excite, and entertain, all the while exploring the deepest aspects of the human condition and questioning our place in the universe.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.