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First Love

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Album Review

At its worst, First Love is a British folk album for those who discovered Nick Drake as a result of the Garden State soundtrack — a modernized, hit-or-miss interpretation of a classic genre. Emma-Lee Moss takes her cues from Drake, Joni Mitchell, and their guitar-strumming ilk, but she sounds more awkward than those artists ever did, with syllable-heavy lyrics that often clutter her own melodies. At its best, though, this debut effort breathes new life into old patterns, as many tracks prove to be solid, oddball folk songs for the iPod generation. The sparkling "We Almost Had a Baby" flirts with girl pop, even if its thinly veiled lyrics ("You didn't stop when I told you to stop, and there was a month when I wasn't sure") are more suggestive than anything the Shangri-Las touched upon. Several minutes later, "Dylan" sways like an Irish folk number, its fiddles and military percussion dancing around Moss' attack on a holier-than-thou hipster. Her lyrics may be cumbersome in execution, but they're still sharp on paper, honing their attack to a fine point whenever the singer attacks former lovers ("You were stroking me like a pet, but you didn't own me yet") and the male gender in general. Throw in some recurring motifs — "The Easter Parade" and "The Easter Parade, Pt. 2" explore the same riff, albeit in radically different contexts — and First Love sounds exactly like its title suggests: self-conscious and potentially awkward, but quite charming and earnest nevertheless.

Customer Reviews

The Best Music of ANY Genre I Have Heard For A Long Time

"First Love" is unlike any album I have ever listened to. Each song makes me more excited to hear the next song. Emmy's voice is lovely and the stringed instruments (violin/fiddle) in many of the songs compliment it. The lyrics are very impressive. She tells stories in her songs very cleverly. Many of her lyrics are quite morbid such as in "MIA", but she still sings them beautifully and upbeat. If you like indie, folk, alternative, pop, or just beautiful, artful music you will want this album.

I've been waiting for a long time for this

I first heard Emmy the Great on her MySpace website sometime last year and I fell in love with her music. Usually I don't like singer-songwriter type music, but her stuff is terrific. The melodies and instrumentations are simple and catchy and really shine due to her clear voice and straight-forward singing. What I really love is her lyrics: she has a refreshingly honest wit and she sings about characters I can relate to. Thank you, Emmy, for finally putting your music on iTunes, but I'm sad that Canopies and Grapes is not on this album.

It makes your heart dance and smile

Emmy The Great is brilliant. Original, heart-felt, sorrowful, exciting, everything under the sun. I didn't hesitate to buy the album, I knew it was going to be good. It's true, every time when a song finishes, you can't wait for the next one and the next one until the whole album is played and you want to play it again.


Born: 1984 in Hong Kong

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

The inventive, acoustic guitar-wielding folksinger Emma-Lee Moss was born in Hong Kong and later moved with her family to England, where she became a fixture of London's burgeoning anti-folk scene. The young singer/songwriter collaborated with Lightspeed Champion, Fyfe Dangerfield, and Jeremy Warmsley, and her audience grew as she shared the stage with the likes of Martha Wainwright, Tilly and the Wall, and Kimya Dawson. Emmy the Great's debut single, "Secret Circus," was released in 2006, followed...
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