Scenery is out now on ATO Records
On Thursday, contemporary R&B artist Emily King kicked off her U.S. tour at 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C., and it was hands down one of the most incredible shows I’ve seen in a while. King, who just released her latest album, Scenery on February 1st, was absolutely electrifying and effortlessly exuded an alluring sophistication and sense of class with every note she hit, smile she flashed, and dance move she struck. For a glimpse of Emily’s sheer vocal power, infectious moves, and stage presence, see her performance of “Can’t Hold Me” on Jimmy Kimmel.
Scenery marks Emily King’s first new album in nearly four years and her first with ATO Records. The album was produced by longtime musical cohort Jeremy Most, mixed by Tom Elmhirst (Adele, Amy Winehouse, David Bowie), and landed at #3 on the Billboard R&B Album Chart upon its release. Without a doubt, the time away was well spent. The new album oozes confidence, even as this New Yorker navigates fluctuating love and relationships — and is sonically cohesive, masterfully made, and perfectly blends exciting influences of soul, R&B, 80s soft rock, and pop into an album worth the four year wait.
From the beginning, it’s clear this album and Emily are not here to play. “Remind Me” is one of Emily’s future classics, the 80’s pop and soft rock influences complement her soaring voice as she lets in new light and explores a new beginning. “Teach You” is the dainty guitar-led track that follows, with Emily questioning if she has to show her lover how to care for her. “Can’t Hold Me” is the next major standout on the album and if you watched the Kimmel video, you know why. The guitar, percussions, and production are akin to Phil Collins or some other beautiful blend of soft rock and R&B. Oh, and look at those moves. King’s energy owns any stage and these tracks were meant to be heard live and out loud. So, you need to go to see her live.
“Look At Me Now” follows and is another sonic highpoint on the album. The quiet track builds quickly into a rock ballad with an incredible guitar solo and another stellar vocal performance by King. “Caliche” is a deep-cut that should be enjoyed repeatedly if not purely for its outstanding blend of pop and 80s rock, it contains a different mystique and vibe than the rest of the album and is a real turning point on the album. “Blue Light,” “Forgiveness,” and “Running” are progressively softer ballads that show a softer and more reflective side to the album and lead to the beautiful single-verse “Interlude (What Love Is).”
“Marigold” finds Emily reminiscing among the flowers before “2nd Guess,” a true gem on the album. The 80s synth-pop intro, simple drums and guitar-led melody dives into a transcendent and cosmic vaporwave moment before cutting to Emily’s stripped back voice to close. What a track. “Go Back” closes an album that should land Emily King her second Grammy nomination for Best R&B Album. Stream Scenery below.