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Album Review: Emily Alone By Florist

Album cover of Emily Alone by Florist. Black & white photo of Emily Sprague inside thick black border with red text above.

By Elinor Aspegren PZ ’20

On the opening track of Florist’s third album Emily Alone, the lead singer Emily Sprague asks
listeners, and herself, “I could have words or I could have solitude/Silent but falling, what is my
place in this world?”

She asks this question in a period of personal introspection, isolation and change, created by
the death of her mother and her move cross-country to Los Angeles (Florist, as a band, is based
in New York, according to their Bandcamp, but this album is strictly just Sprague, hence the
title).

The answer to this question is a complicated one, one that Sprague does not answer fully for
herself or for the listener on the album’s 12 songs, but she attempts. The result is a deeply
personal album, a conversation with herself into which the listener feels almost uncomfortable
intruding, but we do anyway. Emily talks to herself, and we are all a captive audience to
what she says. And when we listen, we discover things about ourselves, and more, we know
that although Emily may feel alone, she is not alone in feeling lost and uncertain.

There’s almost a quiet intensity to Sprague’s solo work, which she has stripped down to its
barest core of just her guitar, her voice, and her words. It’s a change from Florist’s earlier
albums, where Sprague’s lyrics were boosted by soft synth and delicate drums. What’s left is
her exploration of death, confusion, identity and revelation.

Although the album may feel repetitive because most of the songs alternate between just two
chords, the refreshing repetition leads to an almost meditative state that allows you to
immerse yourselves in the lyrics. And the lyrics are the best part.

Many of her songs have emotion that college students, in a period of transition in their lives,
can identify with. On the fourth track on the album, “I Also Have Eyes,” Sprague sings that
“Everyone I know including myself/Is a hungry dog running towards the horizon;” and on the
seventh, “M,” she laments the feeling of isolation she feels after the death of her mother,
telling listeners about a common feeling that anyone who feels lost may have: “I need someone
to tell me yes.” (The music video for the song features a sampling of a recording Sprague’s
mother).

In my favorite song on the album, “Time is a Dark Feeling,” Sprague seems to answer
the first question: “Truthfully, silence never did it for me.” One of the most somber songs on
the record ends with hope, that although we’ll all face the same ending, it’s important to
cherish the time we have.

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