day 18 – a song that you wish you heard on the radio

And summer is back! On the grass with only a barbecue and a radio for company time. And in an alternative universe where I am in charge, this is what would be playing…

Emmy The Great – Canopies & Grapes

I’ve just never understood why Emmy isn’t bigger. One of the few acts-that-I-think-everyone-would-like that actually tends to pan out that way*, she’s the harder-edged glassy-stare don’t-mess-with-her older cousin of Noah & The Whale and Laura Marling. When she sings about misery – and Emmy the Great being Emmy the Great, all the songs are about misery – you really believe that this small, quite sweet-looking girl**’s been there.

It helps that the lyrics are incredibly, edge-of-a-broken-off-bottle sharp. Every simile ever recorded in song form is skewered by Canopies & Grapes‘ beautifully evocative “I feel worse/Than when S Club 7 broke up”. The song meanders from its central them to consider if Friends is what it means to be American, before getting back on-point: she’s dealing with this badly. Could he please get back to me?

Given that she doesn’t seem too fond of doing this live, and it’s not included on the album, I can’t escape the feeling that this single could’ve been her albatross. It could’ve been her Creep, her Sex on Fire, with the added bonus of being infinitely better than either…

I say that people who’ve heard Emmy tend to love her (and I wonder if you, the reader, will too.) She’s one of the few artists the majority of my house agree on enough for us to have her poster in our living room. She’s one of the few things me and the lovely girlfriend like evenly. My mom and dad, even, have nodded appreciatively when I put the CD on in the car. The why of Emmy’s not being fabulously famous and wealthy comes down to the one person I know who hates it… my sister.

Female, mid-teens, with a suspicion of anything with a violin in it… She’s Radio1’s target demographic. It’s not that she has bad taste, it’s just that her prejudices are the prejudices of the nation’s youth, and so what the radio will play, and so are the prejudices of the next generation of teens with disposable income. It’d be easier to curse the damn kids but while we might see that Emmy should’ve been a pop phenomenon, really it’s all a bit Stephen-King’s-Misery … We want to keep Emmy for ourselves. She’s ours, and she will be forever…

*See: Kenickie.
**And I’m aware that Emmy The Great are a band, but for whatever reason – probably the name – it’s impossible not talk about it as Emmy, the Great.

One thought to “30 Days of Music: #018”

  1. She once did it live, because I told her to. [This is literally VERY close to the truth. She'd asked for requests and refused Atoms so I shot for this one. But got the title wrong, which she mocked me for.] (Quite rightly too. "Canopies and Grapes?!")

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