The Future's Void will be as well, but for vastly different reasons. She doesn't surrender all of her grit and grunge. And yet, the dominant addition of electronica into the mix is as unexpected to hear and as deliberate as it was to produce. Every inch of this album is filled.
Anderson is nowhere near the place she was three years ago. The richness of the synth and addition of countless other instruments takes her the distance and permanently broadens her palette. The lyrics are illuminating against the gloom too. It's a warning against a wall of overexposure.
The Future's Void is complexly paranoid. She isn't alone.
“People ask me about themes of paranoia on the record but obviously I am not the only one with dystopian dreams of our plugged-in future,” writes Anderson about the void of a virtual future and before cataloging the risk of overexposure. "There are more cameras on you, more chances to be quoted saying something stupid, and more people out there who relish seeing successful people disgraced and dethroned."
It hasn't happened to her, she clarifies. But it has happened to some people. And all us, everyone of us, subconsciously wonder whether we might be next. The victims, it seems, are getting smaller all the time. You don't have to be a celebrity to be the big joke anymore.
The opening track on the album cuts to the allure of it. Satellites conjures up the wide openness of the net as if it is a gift to remove all those barriers, walls, and curtains. She conjures up the lyrics like a spell, but the instruments allude to the trappings of it. And so we run to it, like moths to flame.
It's a great introduction to the concept, even if it isn't the best song on the album. And while Satellites is stirring as an opener, it wasn't necessarily the best choice for an album teaser. So Blonde almost feels the same. The song opens up on overexposure, exploitation, and shame.
If there is a shortcoming here, it's much like Satellites. Anderson is giving us too much to think about before easing everyone into it. 3Jane would have done a better job at odd. It's a sorrowful song, but recaptures some of that complexly confessional spirit reminiscent of her debut album, only prettier.
From there, Anderson gets smokier with tracks like Cthulu, Smoulder, and Neuromancer. All of them pine away on the risk of giving up too much for the promise of getting more in return. And the downside? Not everyone is going to see the same return. Risk carries as many penalties as rewards.
There are other futures served up on the album, but the surprise track on the bottom half isn't 100 Years, When She Comes, or Solace. It's Drown, an eleventh bonus track that ties her album of paranoia together in a few few whispered lines. Haunting.
The Future's Void By EMA Blanks Out 6.7 On The Liquid Hip Richter Scale.
The inescapable melancholy of The Future's Void, particularly the willingness to take it as it comes despite the paranoid premonitions being proven right, makes it a daring if not dangerous album. In other words, what makes it sharp also makes it less accessible. It's hard to relate to it, even if we all see the same caution signs.
The Future's Void by EMA is available on Amazon or can be downloaded from iTunes. Barnes & Noble is expected to carry the vinyl edition of The Future's Void. Anderson's blog is also worth checking out.