Double Double Whammy · July 26, 2019
Florist’s deeply introspective Emily Alone has the power to shake you. This album’s musings on life, death, loneliness, and nature had me discovering new truths about myself that I didn’t even know were there to be discovered. Florist’s third album differs from the band’s past work in that it was recorded, mixed, and sung entirely by lead singer Emily Sprague in her Los Angeles apartment. Sprague wrote the album following the recent death of her mother, the end of a serious relationship, and a cross country move – three major life changes that understandably ushered in emotional turmoil.
Emily Alone is a soft accompaniment to Sprague’s mind in a period of darkness, an honest recounting of her fleeting hopes and deepest fears. It reads as a dream, or as a journey into Sprague’s warring mind in the form of forty minutes of sung and spoken musings over guitar picking and ambiance. In “M”, her voice is overlayed by the sound of Sprague out on a nature walk, making for a very peaceful, intimate listening experience. The ocean is a theme throughout the album, and Sprague writes about it as a place that both grounds and mystifies her.
The tracks on Emily Alone bleed together in a way that seems completely natural, lending to the feeling of entering Sprague’s universe. However, there are some songs that stand out more than others. “As Alone” is the opening track of the album, and it’s one to cut through your soul. Sprague sings to herself, “Emily, just know you are not as alone as you feel in the dark.” The honesty of this one repeated lyric has a way of simultaneously tearing into you and providing comfort.
“I Also Have Eyes” is a work of lyrical genius. Sprague speaks of the random cruelty of the universe (“My life is only a combination of things that I mostly have no control over”), the struggle to find identity (“It’s cold and late, do I even exist?”), and the mysterious harmony of emotional connection (“Oh, to touch something inside of you and outside of you at the same time”). “Celebration” is spoken poetry over music, a tribute to the power of everyday independence in little things, like shutting the lights off by yourself.
Perhaps the most impressive feat of Emily Alone is Sprague’s ability to perfectly capture the imperfect nature of the world; the paradox of sadness in happy places, and happiness in sad ones. In “Shadow Bloom”, Sprague sings of the “spirit realm”, the place in her mind where she goes to be one with her darkness. She provides a glimmer of hope in acknowledging the light that can be found within these dark places of the mind. “It’s the dark part of me now, the part that knows what can be felt. It’s what our eyes see when we dream, beautiful things where the light comes from.” It’s the darkest parts of her mind that allow her to realize the full depth of emotion, and to understand the multitude of ways that there are to love and to be beautiful.
Emily Alone provides solidarity and hope to wandering souls searching for their purpose in this world, which is to say it perfectly voices the loneliness and loss of identity we all experience at some point. It reminds us all that even in the times when we feel our lowest, there are things of beauty to be found, and that the world is waiting for us when we wish to return to it.