I was heading out for a long drive and stopped by the mailbox on the way and found a package--- a CD by one Emily Mure, whom I neither had never heard of nor heard. I already had two CDs to listen to, one being the new one by Ben Rabb, a musician I had written about before and one I was anxious to hear. When I turned onto the highway, I reached for the CDs and came away with Emily Mure's Worth instead of Rabb's Feel Me Fall EP (Don't worry, Ben, I shall get to yours soon). Rather than pull off the road, I slipped Mure's CD into the player and set my mind to driving. Five songs in, I pulled off the road. Mure's voice and especially her songs were drilling a wormhole in my ears. I had to look at the album jacket.
What I found didn't help much. A list of names I did not recognize, session people and instruments. No lyrics, though I find that Mure's lyrics are as basic as her melodies and harmonies. A long list of thank yous. A picture on the front, track listing on the back. It was frustrating, in an odd way. The songs had stirred something in me and I felt the need to understand. I was soon on the road again, enclosed in a world Mure had made. While my eyes were awake and alert, my soul was wrapped in a warm cocoon.
At first, I thought she was just another singer/songwriter with a pretty voice. The first loop had me listening closer. The third time through, around 1 A.M., epiphany time. This album, I discovered, in one of those perfect three in the morning albums. Played softly, it put me in a zone. And I loved it. I became convinced that she was absolutely not “just another.” Her songs may be simple in structure but they are deep with meaning. I mean, how many ways can you say “I love you?” And isn't the simplest always the best?
Maybe it is because I am ancient, but I feel a real fifties and sixties attachment to the music. Pop. Middle of the road. AM hits not of the rock 'n' roll variety. For the music. For the arrangements (and I find the arrangements exceptional, thanks to the inclusion of a variety of stringed instruments which at moments relay an almost chamber music feel. The production values change with each song but are always spot on.
Favorites were immediate--- “Waiting For Change” for its reflection; “Worth” for its positive attitude and sensitivity in spite of being somewhat upbeat (the harmonies are key, too); “Roommate's Predicament” for its slight country leaning and subject matter (you have to hear it to understand). As good as those are (and I find them excellent), “David” takes the prize. A simple lament of lost love but not just any lost love--- love lost by choice, and a regrettable choice at that. The line “I left you for fear that you would leave me” says it all. I have seen it happen. It is a black hole of sadness and Mure captures it in voice and song perfectly.
Every so often, an album is made that is not made to be played loud, almost as if the loud gets in the way or something. Worth is one of those. Listen in a dark room. With headphones. And no distractions. Or maybe take it out on a long drive on a beautiful day. Better yet, drive into the country in the wee hours, the music just loud enough to be heard over the hum of the wheels. Loop it. Let it play. You will know when it is time to head home.