Wednesday, March 2, 2011

pop*eye...Emma's Imagination—Stand Still (2011)


Emma's Imagination
Stand Still (2011)

*I proud to highly

In September 2010 the nation – or at least those with Sky One – held its breath as Fearne Cotton announced the winner of TV talent show Must Be the Music. As adjudicated by Jamie Cullum, Dizzee Rascal and competent, inoffensive Scottish singer Sharleen Spiteri, the victor was competent, inoffensive Scottish singer Emma Gillespie, a 27-year-old former busker, now a hundred grand richer. Instantly she had two top ten hits as downloads. This Day and Focus are included on her debut album, alongside six more of her songs, plus two covers – Bic Runga’s Drive and Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova’s Oscar-winning Falling Slowly (from the film Once).

Gillespie has a decent voice and her songs are sincere if soppy. Producer Martin Terefe, who’s steered James Morrison, K.T. Tunstall and Jason Mraz to success, has dressed her trilling and strumming lightly, with soporific, innocuous, featureless arrangements and "tasteful" strings. Stand Still is smooth-edged enough to move fast in supermarkets, but one wonders how much the world really needs another Adele or Ellie Goulding or Dido manqué. The whole thing floats by with scant emotional impact, and her popularity will be as baffling to non-believers as is that of Amy Macdonald.

Snapped up by Gary Barlow’s label (asked which writers she admires, Emma shows little imagination, citing Barlow himself, Coldplay and Goulding), Gillespie will inevitably enjoy one of the first big shifters of the year, and critics’ pleas for something with guts, darkness or ambivalence will fall by the wayside. On This Day she sings of the "cardigan on my shoulders", which is a long, long way from the spirit of Robert Johnson’s "hellhound on my trail". In the Reality TV age, perhaps we should be grateful she at least writes her own songs and won’t be shunted by the Cowell trowel into butchering Unchained Melody any time soon. Yet as, on Focus, she stretches the word "baby" into several syllables, it’s hard not to want to rush onto your tube platform without chucking ten pence into her guitar case. Like she’d need it now.

it's perfectly fine but you do get the distinct impression that you've heard it all before.


All about
Emma's Imagination

Emma’s Imagination is Glaswegian busker Emma Gillespie who had released a single “Stamp Your Feet” under her own name on UpNext Records in September 2009.

She came to a wider audience under the new name of Emma’s Imagination on Sky 1’s talent show “Must Be The Music”. Emma played her own song “Focus”, which was well received and progressed her to the next stage. She also performed “This Day” which secured her place as a finalist, and is available for download as a single on iTunes and Sky Songs. On 19th September 2010, Emma’s Imagination won Sky 1’s ‘’Must Be The Music’‘.

A video clip of her excellent cover of “Change” is also available on the Internet and she has a strong MySpace following.

Emma Gillespie seems to have completely slipped underneath my radar. Apparently, she won the Sky talent show Must Be The Music last year and had two top ten hits in 2010 - the chirpy This Day and the more melancholy Focus. Her debut album (released on Gary Barlow's Future Records label) is her 'prize' for her TV success, although I'm not sure it's going to catapult her into superstardom.

Stand Still is a nice enough record. It has a gentle, acoustic sound reminiscent of Natalie Imbruglia or, oddly, Alisha's Attic (remember them?!) and Gillespie has an ear for a decent melody. Its main problem, however, is that it sounds rather like countless other similar records by similar female singer-songwriters. Quirky and whimsical, Stand Still has very little to distinguish it from a raft of other records, meaning it lacks a little bit of personality.

I enjoyed it enough, and it's certainly something I will come back to in the future. Just don't expect to be mesmerised by Stand Still - it's perfectly fine but you do get the distinct impression that you've heard it all before.

Her debut album Stand Still was released on Jan 10th 2011.

Emma's Imagination
"My personal favorite
Fresh new artist!"


“Brightest young stars
pop talent,
it's perfectly fine!”

the portastylistic

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