Emily Rowed’s latest EP Crying in Cars arrived in a timely fashion. Some songs just seem to hit a little more close to home these days. It’s more common to hear tell of weekly existential crises, introspection, or crying fests in these early days of 2021. It’s just what we’re going through. Pain is part of the human experience, and crying through it while driving down the highway is as sure a cure to find yourself as any medicine.
Crying in Cars follows the Vancouver artist’s full length 2019 LP April. Now an independent artist, Rowed has a growing history in contemporary pop - expanding her singles into stand alone remixes, experimenting with cinematic production, and earning recognition in her own right. Presented to us are poignant lyrical stories painted by stand alone melodies and the case is no different in this EP.
Rowed recruits multiple co-writes on this EP including Ruslan Ordnoralov (Lennon Stella, Ruelle) and Warren Rikker (Lauryn Hill, The Fugees). Angelic harmonies, reverberating piano chords, and intricately built choruses compile these songs written over the last several years. Piano leads us through “Shipwreck.” It’s the obvious first track to queue up if you’re setting yourself up to break down while driving down an empty road into a blazing sunset. This EP is the permission needed to not hold back and embrace the power in letting go. The most beautiful music shows its fragility. Every track on this EP is courageously open and tender, making it a great partner to a solo crying trip.
“Tell Me You Love Me” is a personal favourite and lends the most addictive chorus. Building to it with heavy piano chords again (a recurring instrumental force) and layered vocals, it’s the EP’s most powerful track using a simple background rhythm and the age old relatable content of uncertainty in love. “Song for B” clings more to Rowed's earlier contemporary tracks with recognizable singular back track and rhythm that remains steady throughout rather than ebbs and flows. “Let Me Hurt” summarizes the idea behind this EP entirely with “let me hurt a little longer” and “I need to cry an ocean before I’m stronger.” It’s at this moment in the journey you instinctively crank the dial.
Overall, if you’re searching for a soundtrack that plunges you deep into self-reflection with the use of intense chords or at times soaring strings, or if you just need an “Iris” cover to have a good cry to, Crying in Cars has you covered.
Photo credit: Diana King