The Shocking Miss Emerald
This is the second album by Dutch singer Caro Emerald – and it’s the major-label debut. It’s a cutesy amalgam of dance-pop and some idea of old-world diva-jazz. That should tell you enough to know to run to the fucking hills and trust the album’s title as neither cute nor ironic; simply honest, warning you that a disgusting, syrupy mash of retro-referencing smugness is on the way.
Through it all, smiling and smug and sassy and somehow – almost – classy, Emerald does a good job at making a decent fist of this. She can sing. I guess. But she can’t make me care about her or her voice or her music. And she can’t make any excuse to cover the cynicism of this music-as-marketing-ploy. Black Valentine sounds like the theme to James Bond Jr: Die Another Daycare. Pack Up The Louie sounds like Lilly Allen was forced to sniff an ether rag, got clubbed on the head and woke up to find herself trapped in a glass display case at Baz Luhrmann’s house, made to sing and dance on the hour, every hour.
It’s advertising-jingle shtick at best. It’s like someone got hooked on any number of retro-styled pop/rock chanteuses on the market, Imelda May say, and happened to be listening to The Gotan Project at the time; thought they’d just marry it up.
Go buy some chocolate instead. You’ll hate yourself straight after finishing the block – just as you should if you finish this album. Actually, wait long enough – another day or two – and one of these jingles songs will be soundtracking a chocolate ad. Should put you off both.
Now, as I said earlier, run!