Time for another review roundup! This week it’s Emily Osment.
In “I Hate the Homecoming Queen,” Emily dismissively sings, “She wants to be a model, wants to be on the tube.” That’s pretty rich coming from a former child model best known for her role as Hannah Montana’s best friend, and also kind of emblematic of the problems with this EP: Emily is desperately trying to come off as a cool, hard rocker chick, but she doesn’t have enough of a voice to overcome her baby face and Disney Channel background. Adding to her problems is the fact that a weak voice can be supported with autotune in pop music, but against the rawer sound of rock autotune just seems out of place. A couple of the songs are catchy – I really like “Average Girl” – but I’m afraid Emily’s not the right person to sing them.
Emily’s first full album shifts genres drastically from wannabe rocker to pure dancepop, and it’s the better for it. Sure, many of the songs sound like she stole them from Katy Perry in the dead of night (“Lovesick,” “Get Yer Yah-Yah’s Out,” “Truth or Dare”), but for the most part that’s a good thing. It gives her an excuse to autotune, while simultaneously using her voice better so that she needs the autotune less. (She’s also clearly had some intensive vocal training over the past few years.) While a couple of songs go too far in this direction – “All the Boys Want” just makes me want to yell “CALM DOWN” at everyone involved – others evoke a fun and vaguely British dancepop sound. “Let’s Be Friends” manages to convey sexuality while still sounding appropriately teenaged and not like a little girl trying on her mother’s high heels (ahem, MILEY). Emily even acquits herself nicely on the ballads; “Marisol” is lovely and lifts her voice without overtaxing it, while “You Get Me Through” does the opposite, sitting comfortably in the bottom of her range and creating some great counterpoint when two tracks of her voice are played simultaneously. All in all, a solid, enjoyable album, and much better than I would have expected based on her EP.