Esperanza Spalding
Emily's D+Evolution


4.5
superb

Review

by wtferrothorn USER (36 Reviews)
March 5th, 2016 | 127 replies


Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Rebirth

"Best New Artist": The death sentence to all up-and-coming musicians. This particular Grammy is infamous for foreshadowing a pattern with the artists, who often win said award only to never replicate the prior success. There have been a few outliers, but with one hit wonders such as Starland Vocal Band, Debby Boone, and Marc Cohn being notable winners, the trend is hard to deny. So when bass prodigy Esperanza Spalding won the award back in 2011, it would be no surprise to never hear from her ever again. In a sense, the Esperanza Spalding that won that Grammy has been forgotten. However, her alter-ego, the incredibly bold Emily featured on Emily’s D+Evolution, has finally come to fruition.

Spalding wastes no time to assert herself as a dominant force on the album, as “Bad Lava” opens with a rocking guitar riff that drives the track. It’s the first sign that we’re dealing with an entirely new monster than her previous efforts. It’s one of the many curveballs that Emily’s D+Evolution throws at their listener, whether they're ready or not. Probably the greatest example of this is “Ebony and Ivy”, which opens with a politically-charged spoken word piece where Esperanza multi-tracks her own voice, creating a powerful experience both sonically and lyrically. The rest of song, while not as lyrically blunt with its topic, features a creeping vocal melody during the socially conscious verses against some satisfying jazzy instrumentation with tight drums and bass. The album ends on two of its most distinctive tracks: “Funk the Fear” and “I Want It Now”. The former, fittingly, is an incredibly funky track with an infectious chanted chorus, as if it’s being sung by a funk army, fighting the opposition with the power of bass. The latter and closer of the album, “I Want It Now”, is possibly the most eccentric cut on the entire album with lyrics depicting a cartoonishly greedy character sung in such an extravagant way, it wouldn’t feel out of place as a musical number in a play in the best way possible.

No matter how many bells and whistles are placed on a record, what matters is if the record’s core is of equal quality to those extra features. This is the one area where the old Esperanza comes into play. If you take a peek into the inner mechanisms of Emily’s D+Evolution, you’ll find that Spalding is still the incredible talent that earned her a Grammy. The bass work on the record is consistently wonderful, bringing a groovy sense to almost every track and making tracks like “Judas” automatic highlights. Equally remarkable are her vocals, which convey an incredible sense of emotion and personality, especially when she reaches into her upper range to deliver a lovely coo. While her jazzy style isn’t incredibly one-of-a-kind, she adds some quirky, though sometimes clunky ad libs to numerous songs to give her performances just a little extra pizzazz. In the trailer for this record, Spalding describes her alter-ego as, “Emily has arrived, has been born, as an expansion/extension of myself…it’s still me in a different distillation”. After listening to the album, the quote is definitely fitting. While she may still be the technically stunning musician who was plagued with the title of Best New Artist, Emily’s D+Evolution sees Esperanza Spalding come into her own as a living, breathing, stereoscopic artist.



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user ratings (121)
3.7
great
other reviews of this album
ShakerFaker (4.5)
devolution burns inside me...


Comments:Add a Comment 
wtferrothorn
March 5th 2016


5849 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Album trailer referenced in the review: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GpzY4SgV4OY

"Good Lava": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UDrEHphZbcE

"One": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bGqmoWH-t1c



Thanks to Arcade for proofreading this review, any other constructive criticism is greatly appreciated. This is some good stuff, my album of the year so far.

RadicalEd
March 5th 2016


9546 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

great review. Interested in checking this out. I hope the BNA curse gets Meghan fucking Traynor.

wtferrothorn
March 5th 2016


5849 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

thanks man, and agreed with ya there. Wasn't crazy about Courtney Barnett's latest record, but anyone would've been better than Meghan Trainor

greg84
Emeritus
March 5th 2016


7616 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

see this pretty girl... watch this pretty girl flow

Digging: Algiers - There Is No Year

hal1ax
March 5th 2016


14470 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Great review dude pos!

Asdfp277
March 5th 2016


21935 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

so is this actually good

wtferrothorn
March 5th 2016


5849 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

read the review for my answer ;]

but yes, very

Asdfp277
March 5th 2016


21935 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

will do, and will check this

someguest
March 5th 2016


29931 Comments


this is really good. bass heavy with some excellent vocals.

wtferrothorn
March 5th 2016


5849 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

totally, her bass and vocals make the record

Asdfp277
March 5th 2016


21935 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

...literally

ChoccyPhilly
March 6th 2016


11999 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Got through the first two tracks. Hopefully they're more mellow like the second but will definitely listen to this at some point

Digging: Boris Brejcha - Feuerfalter Part 2

SitarHero
Contributing Reviewer
March 6th 2016


11354 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Dang, this album is ridiculous. I'm just not sure if that's in a good way yet.

Detective Dan
March 6th 2016


233 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Whoa. This is really cool.

wtferrothorn
March 6th 2016


5849 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@ChoccyPhilly "Good Lava" is definitely one of the more in your face tracks, not all the songs are as rough as it.

Shiranui
March 6th 2016


572 Comments


What an excellent album this is. I adore Noble Nobles.

ChoccyPhilly
March 6th 2016


11999 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

half way through and it's pretty good. Glad things so far are nothing like the first track

davesthesay
March 6th 2016


62 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Was hoping it was going to be more like the first track.

SitarHero
Contributing Reviewer
March 6th 2016


11354 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Noble Nobles is the jam, and ChoccyPhilly is right. I didn't dig the Zappa/Beefheart vibe of Good Lava, but the rest of the album is stunning.

ChoccyPhilly
March 6th 2016


11999 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yah this is excellent for the most part and love how the last song feels like a brilliant west end climax song.

That being said, i feel like the more rock based songs are the worst, like good lava and funk the fear as they feel a little aimless and directionless



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