BEST INDIE POP: EMILY BURNS - CHEAT
Emily Burns rolls with the punches of a new relationship with the bouncy piano bop of "Cheat."
Emily Burns might be the chillest girl of all time. First she gave us "Girlfriend Of The Year," where she detailed all the bumps and tics of a new relationship, capturing both the excitement and the vulnerability like lightning in a bottle. Despite the nuance, she seems undisturbed, levitating on a pocket of air over a chorus of sick beats, dubby bass, and hooky melodies.
A few months down the line, Burns returns with "Cheat," another lovesick ballad built on bouncy beats and piano pop melodies. Instead of the pit-of-your-stomach dropping out of new love, "Cheat" explores the complexities and confusion of life, that can get in the way of love and relationships.
EMILY BURNS - CHEAT
It's nowhere near as heavy as it sounds. In fact, it's about as heavy as an Eiderdown feather and just as breezy. A few years into Burns’ career and We Are: The Guard are starting to wonder if anything gets her down! "Cheat" tells of a relationship that went off the rail unexpectedly, more quickly than Emily Burns would've liked. At that point, you'd expect a slab of pissed-off Alanis Morissette/Avril Lavigne angsty grunge but NO! Emily Burns sounds like she could be singing about skating on rainbows while chasing puppies and a good-time buzz.
In fact, Emily Burns doesn't blame or shame at all. "Hey, it happens!" she seems to be saying to her partner. "I understand." She even seems to blame herself for their indiscretions, knowing she can't be around all the time or meet all of her partner's needs. If only we could all be so enlightened in the face of heartache.
Emily Burns has been called "music for an Instagram age" - fresh, immediate, catchy, stylish. This also raises the concern that Burns might be forgettable, a flash-in-the-pan that favors style over substance. These concerns would be unwarranted. Yes, Emily Burns sound (and style) are imminently in right now. And, yes, her melodic pop and dancehall beats are up-front and obvious, but that is one of her main strengths, not a weakness. Before starting her music career in earnest, Emily Burns worked as a receptionist at London's Abbey Road studios. Some of those pop instincts seem to have soaked into her bones, as she can create melody after melody that will haunt you for days after days.
With everything going on in Emily Burns' life, following her ecstatically-received Take It Or Leave it debut from 2016, Emily Burns probably isn't all that bothered by the ups-and-downs of romance. People "they will come and they will go" as Stevie Nicks reminds us. Emily Burns has too many exciting things happening, from playing a string of celebrated gigs across London to having a new mini-album coming out this Summer. You'd probably be walking on air, too!
Emily Burns is definitely one to keep an eye and ear on. You heard it here first!
J. Simpson occupies the intersection between criticism, creativity, and academia. Based out of Portland, Or., he is the author of Forestpunk, an online journal/brand studying the traces of horror, supernatural, and the occult through music, fashion and culture. He plays in the dreamfolk band Meta-Pinnacle with his partner Lily H. Valentine, with whom he also co-founded Bitstar Productions, a visual arts collective focused on elevating Pop Culture to High Art.