Look up to the sky late at night, and shining down on you is Emily Jackson’s long-awaited sophomore EP release, “Phases”. With this new project, Emily departs a bit from her indie-pop roots and boldly branches out deeper into rock territory, absorbing and revitalizing the vibe and styling of 90s alternative and grunge sounds.
Based out of Brooklyn, Emily Jackson dipped during the pandemic into her songwriting sanctum, perfecting the verses into songs and the melodies into entire worlds for her lyrics to inhabit, even going so far as to produce her own songs with a little help from Erin Tonkon (Lady Lamb, Daphne Guiness, David Bowie) who also mixed the album.
Filled to the brim with clear but subtle Lycanthropic references, the EP is ripe for visualization and cinematic treatment, offering us a short but satisfying arc to follow and an elusive, wolfish protagonist to identify with. Work of this quality truly comes out once in a blue moon.
For as cool as howling wolves are, “Phases” isn’t all about lupine (mis)adventures, and, as the name implies, it is more about the different sides and phases that a person can go through in life, where changes in perspective, opinion, and priorities often take place; this all lends itself to an ‘episodic’ feeling for the EP, in which every song reflects upon a different mini-stage of personal development.
“ The title track, “Phases,” explores more of the themes that took me through this whole collection of songs. Specifically my feelings about being a woman and being an artist in your 30s. Dating is already hard, but when you add in the factor of motherhood- or desired motherhood- it starts to get a lot harder. This song is really about that. The narrator is basically asking “is this a phase for you? Because it’s something different for me.”
Across all 4 tracks, and in true Singer-songwriter fashion, Emily set out to translate her feelings and experiences into the universal. While she’s been at her most vulnerable and honest in this album, her lyricism is sophisticated, inclusive, and neat, never feeling Navel-gazy and self-centered or beating you over the head with its meaning crudely laid out. Emily Doesn’t sacrifice her identity and personal stake in the songs, but neither does she suffocate the listener by absorbing all of the protagonism.
Ever since “Wolf Moon” (the single) premiered, “Phases” became one of my most anticipated releases, and while the wait was a bit frustrating at times, I can definitely say it was well worth it. I’m very “Lyrics First” when it comes to some genres, and Emily had set the expectations very high, so when I was met with lines like “My heart is bleeding out on your nice carpet for free”(Simple Life) I was more than satisfied. Don’t be mistaken though, there’s nothing overly heady or pointlessly verbose to Emily’s pen, she knows when to let the melody of her icy synths and her -unequivocally- pop hooks speak louder than everything else.
Photo by: Greg Hermann Story By: LADYGUNN
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