Sound — 9
For a girl who has led an ideal childhood, and as an artist, has secured a major record deal for her debut album Love, Save The Empty to be put on store shelves from the get-go, Erin McCarley can communicate such sorrow and deeply entrenched aching in her vocals that you would swear she has experienced nothing but failed attempts at love, and has met no one but dispassionate folks. Her songs display her visceral connection to people who feel insecure and have been mistreated, living vicariously through them. The brunette beauty who visually looks part Fergie and part Catherine Zeta-Jones, has orchestral-pop atmospherics reminiscent of Sarah Blasko and chamber-folk rivulets emblematic of The Pierces. The music is both soft and raw, loving and lamenting bringing such unlikely characteristics together and highlighting their compatibility. There is not a single misstep on the entire album, every track has it's own specially-made seams and dynamics paired perfectly with McCarley's vocals. The finger-snapping beats of Sticky Sweet have a shade of jazz-rock that brings out a burlesque quality in McCarley's register, while the mellow pitch of Pitter-Pat offers gently stroking guitar chords that nestle in the cushiony nooks and crannies of McCarley's vocal melody. It is uncanny how McCarley knows precisely how to move and shape her vocals to fit them harmoniously with the melodic configurations of the instruments. She shows a sophistication that borders on Broadway starlets and seasoned barroom singers. Her style is both lovely and starkly vulnerable enabling her to shift between these two spheres with the ease of a fine music connoisseur.
Lyrics — 8
Many of Erin McCarley's lyrics spin stories that speak of forlorn feelings, which emote compassion for the protagonist whose heart has been torn to shreds like in Pitter-Pat when she sighs, Pain takes my heart's place / The love we made, we can't erase it, don't wanna face it / Pitter-pat, the angel on my shoulder / Is haunting me tonight / Tick tock, the clock is getting louder / Ready for me to decide / I've lost my sense of right and wrong / Well, justified my soul to carry on / It feels so damn good to write off the rules / But when a new day breaks, I'm left a fool / I'm such a fool The sun is coming down on me / Could fate be so unkind? / Pain takes my heart's place / The love we made remains. Her lyrics in the title track observe how young boys and girls are set on the wrong track from the start, Little girls don't know how to be sweet girls / Mama didn't teach me / Little boys don't know how to treat little girls / Daddy wouldn't show me / Face down on top of your bed / Oh why, did I give it up to you? / Is this how, I shoot myself up high / Just high enough to get through / Again, for false affection / Again, breakdown inside / Love, save the empty Oh sad boy, you stare up at the sky / And no ones looking back at you / So you wear your every last disguise / To fly and then you fall through. McCarley tells on her website that her lyrics are often inspired by songwriters like Patty Griffin and Fiona Apple and says, I just love how true and raw their lyrics are I get one line into one of their songs and I have to stop and write my own.
Overall Impression — 8
Erin McCarley's forthcoming album Love, Save The Empty is everything that makes modern pop a viable canvass of real-life situations, and raw human feelings that emote inner cravings and inconsolable heartache without succumbing to it. McCarley currently calls Nashville, Tennessee home, but she discovered her love of songwriting while living in San Diego after graduating from college. It was during this time that she met producer/ writer/ keyboardist Jamie Kenny who produced and co-wrote songs with McCarley for her debut album Love, Save The Empty. McCarley's songs have worldwide appeal that hits people in the gut. In their purest form, the tracks are acoustic guitar melodies, but in finished formed, they are embellished with layers or orchestral elements and cables of chamber-piano. The title track might be most familiar to people since it has been played in TV-shows such as Grey's Anatomy and Ghost Whisperer. Erin McCarley is a modern day Alanis Morissette with a sunnier take on life.