40 of 45 people found the following review helpful
on October 31, 2007
Like a lot of reviewers I was intrigued by Emmy Rossum's performance in 2004's "The Phantom of the Opera" and I wanted to see how she would develop as a singer. Her debut album "Inside Out" bypasses the classical crossover genre which many would expect from her- some will probably disappointed, and draws inspiration from the likes of Imogean Heap, Enya, Sarah McLaughlin, Sarah Brightman and a host of others. Some reviews call it a "rip off" of artists like Enya and Heap, however I think that Rossum has a younger, pop-ier, less synthisized sound. Rossum wrote all the lyrics and cowrote all the music (with the exception of a cover of "Rainy Days and Mondays") and sang every vocal including all the harmonies and backing without using any synth. That definately gives the album a feeling of being truely about the artist, that few albums in the contemporary pop genre have. The result is a strong, though slightly flawed first effort.
The single "Slow Me Down" is a blend of 150 tracks of Rossum singing the song and harmonies. Her voice runs fast and breathless as she sings of "Rushing and racing and running in circles moving so fast I'm forgetting my purpose" and then draws out the chorus where she pleads to stop before she misses out on life. As a concept it works but in execution it feels cluttered and hard to listen to. Maybe that was the intention but I doubt this was the wisest choice of a single. The layed vocals also interfere on "Falling" a pop infused song about the heady sensation of infatuation. The technique fares better on "Stay" a song that opens with several tracks of Rossum's voice in an eerie whisper peading "hush now, close out the light, no need to speak, time will slow if we surrender..." and a new wave of vocals come in on the chorus "head rush, careful don't stop now, shiver" The vocals are arranged in waves as if a tide is coming in and receading and slowly buidling to a climax until we are given a final plea to "stay" almost like a siren's call. "Lullaby" is what the title says. Here Rossum's solitary voice sings each verse adding only a layer or two on the chorus. "Don't Stop now" features a creeping sound as Rossum sings of a lover's infidelity, and the "The Great Divide" has very simple lyrics ("Are you listening?" and "I need you now" for the most part) though it achieves an almost epic feel. At nearly seven minutes long it really divides the first and second portion of the album. The cover of "Rainy Days and Mondays" stands out by virtue of being the only cover on the album. Rossum makes it her own by recording the song itself and overlapping it with "dum, dums" that sound like raindrops plonking down. Perhaps the most notable track is the last one "Anymore", which again features solitary vocals, and instrumentals playing a childish tune as Rossum sings about her younger self wishing for her absent father to come home, realizing that he won't: "When she was younger- Stood staring at the door waiting for the day that she knew would surely come...But as time ticked away promises fade one by one and now she's all grown...". Many reviews have noted that Rossum's CD cover suggest nudity (and for the record all it does is suggest it) Yes, she's not dressed in the pictures, but they aren't about her body by any means. Perhaps it was intended as a metaphor for the way she strips herself bare on these songs, singing about her own (sometimes painful) experiences.
On one hand I commend Rossum for trying something different, and taking an active role in the creation of these songs. However, it sometimes seems that in the process she forgets that she as a lovely voice. The best moments on this album are when she allows her voice to be as bare as the rest of her. While I'm glad Rossum didn't take a "look what I can do" approach to her songs, singing as high as she can, I wish she'd shown us a bit more of what she sounds like. The layered vocals provide a lush tapestry on songs like "Stay" they threaten to overwhelm songs like "Inside Out" that would benefit from a more acoustic sound. Also while Rossum doesn't use synthesizers the effect of multiple vocal tracks often sounds like that of a synthesizer and using it on too many songs makes the album start to feel a bit repetitive.
Overall I give this album 4 stars for it's lyrics, and some lovely songs that reveal Rossum as a dreamer, a romantic, and an awkward kid (some of the album's charm lies in it's awkwardness- while it aspires to adult contemporary genre some of the lyrics give away the fact that Rossum is barely out of her teens). It loses a star for being slightly overproduced on some songs and obscuring the vocals. I do think it's worth checking out despite it's faults and I'm interested to see what musical directions Rossum head in the future.
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on October 24, 2007
I first saw Emmy Rossum, as most people did, in 'Phantom of the Opera.' I was stunned by her voice in Phantom and thought she did an amazing job. Afterwards, I looked up everything I could find about her. I saw many of her movies including 'Songcatcher' where she sang country/Scotch-Irish ballads and 'Nola' where she sings pop songs. The diverseness of her voice is just simply amazing. And this is just another genre that Emmy has proven she can do.
Many have likened this to Imogen Heap/Frou Frou and Enya, and I agree there are similarities, but this is still uniquely Emmy.
Emmy said that with this album she wanted to bare herself, hence the title 'Inside Out'. And unlike many pop singers out there today, Emmy co-wrote every song on this album with the exception of Rainy Days and Mondays, which is very impressive.
My favorite tracks on this album are 'Lullaby' which is just a very soothing song- a grown up lullaby, 'Anymore'- where sings about how it felt to grow up without a father, and 'Don't Stop Now'- where she sings about catching her first boyfriend cheating on her. And her cover of 'Rainy Days and Mondays' is fantastic. The way she uses her voice in that song with these 'do do dos' you can almost feel the rain. And in every song she sings on this album you can feel the emotion she put into it. All in all a fantastic debut! Brava Emmy!
27 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on October 23, 2007
Because I live in Brazil, it's still gonna take a lot of time until I have the physical CD in my hands. But I've downloaded the entire album here on Amazon and here's what I got to say.
These days, I find it hard, almost impossible to be honest, to discover an artist who has so much passion for their music: this love, this fire is explicit in every lyric and melody of this CD. When all we hear on the radio are frantic beats, stupid, redundant lyrics with a mediocre singer, Emmy shines through and she's here to stay.
All of the songs calmed me down and some of them touched me deeply. My favorites are "Inside Out", "Stay", "High", "Rainy Days and Mondays", "Anymore" and, clearly, the first single "Slow Me Down".
I'll ignore all of these people saying she sounds like Enya or Imogen Heap: I honestly don't care. THIS is what WE NEED in music nowadays. Weren't Britney, Christina, Fergie, Beyoncé, Gwen and many, many others inspired by Madonna? Why can't Emmy have a few similarities to other singers in her work too?
I hope Emmy goes far and continues to inspire people with her music. This is pure, dreamy, special and, at least to me, unique. Congratulations to this amazing singer and I'll be on the line waiting for the sophomore album.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on December 29, 2007
When I first heard that Emmy Rossum was releasing a record I rolled my eyes and thought, 'Great. Another actress turned "singer"'. However, I was still intrigued enough to buy INSIDE OUT based on the comparisons to Imogen Heap (a favorite artist of mine), and because of her impressive work on The Phantom of the Opera (Two-Disc Special Edition). Fortunately, while the comparisons are warranted, I found myself relieved to hear a mixture of different styles as well. I'd say the sound here is a wonderful blend of Frou Frou, Enya, and Sleepthief. And why would that be a bad thing?
Classically trained Emmy Rossum neither took the route of disposable pop or classical crossover but instead chose a rather relaxing and addictive medium. Her breathy, ethereal vocals are absolutely spellbinding, and the lushly driven beats are quite beautiful and hypnotic.
INSIDE OUT may not be perfect in its lack of originality but it's a lovely album from a promising young singer. I was not at all disappointed; just pleasantly surprised.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on March 2, 2009
So a year ago, I would have given this album 1 star. I was so disappointed in Emmy for putting out what I thought to be such a let-down. Compared to her work in Phantom of the Opera, a theater buff like me could almost burn this album. You would almost think that the Emmy of this album and the Emmy of PotO were two different artists--there is nothing similar between the two singing styles.
But then I began to realize that I was stereotyping Emmy as Christine Daae. And the truth is, she isn't Christine Daae, she's Emmy Rossum. In in an interview for her new album, she said that this music expresses her. So I decided to give it another try with an open mind, believing that THIS music is Emmy Rossum. And I can actually say, I liked it a bit better.
The album as a whole can get to be a bit redundant. A bunch of breathy, feathery vocals accompany the lyrics--some song lyrics are inspirational, some aren't. I think my favorite song is "Slow Me Down" because I can relate to it.
Which is a good thing about this album--I think that maybe every person can find at least one song that they can relate to.
The only really spectacular thing about this album is that every single bit of it is sung only by Emmy. You'd have to listen to some of the songs (Especially "Slow Me Down") to understand why this is actually amazing.
So basically, this is what I recommend: if you love Broadway, theater, and Phantom of the Opera, sample this music, but don't depend on loving it. If you like all sorts of music--especially breathy feather kind (poppish or even sort of Celtic sounding)--then check into this album. It's not nearly close to being a favorite, but it's okay to listen to every so often. And this is coming from someone who isn't a HUGE Emmy fan--I think she has the most surreal voice on earth in PotO, but in real life, I often am disappointed in...well, I won't go there.
Check it out, but don't have high expectations. If you like it, you can be pleasantly surprised. If you don't, it won't be a huge let-down.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on October 29, 2007
I'm glad that I listened to the CD before reading previous reviews and actually agree with both pro and anti Rossum camp. The Enya comparisons (as if it's a bad thing) are interesting - no one ever complained that all her songs, even consecutive albums sound 'the same' because we all know this is her 'thing' and expect little else. Overall, Emmy's is a lovely album and just another facet of her enormous talent. That said, I give it a 4 since there is no 3 1/2 available. If she were totally unknown and we heard her for the first time and could peg her in a category - she'd get a 4-5. The listening frustration (if the right word) comes from the entire album having one 'color' - I have synesthesia (I kid you not) and the entire thing is the same pale lavender color, from start to finish. She is already known to have a great range and her versatility is the only 'flaw' here if there is one - I had to force myself to block her other vocal options out. As an artist who co-wrote most of the material she deserves a chance to have this effort rated on its own merit and I did enjoy it. Her classical training and an awsome range give her an advantage over most pop singers. I don't think that she was playing it 'safe' but just exactly what she wanted, for now. Buy the album and look forward to the next one to see what this chameleon will deliver.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on August 27, 2009
First off, Emmy is a beautiful and talented singer/actress. When I saw her in Phantom of the Opera I was blown away. Her voice was captivating to say the least. So I didn't hesitate to purchase this CD in hopes of hearing more. What I got was a CD full of Enya type sound affects and chorus that totaly cover over Emmy's voice. When a person has the type voice Emmy has (perfect), why would they even consider drowning it out? Overall, it just saddened me to not hear her quality voice with music added. Instead I heard noise with her voice somewhere in the background.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on May 1, 2009
I am primarily a fan of Progressive Metal (Kamelot, Ayreon), but on occasion I am known to make random forays among other genres, and on one such occasion I was pleased to discover Inside Out by Emmy Rossum. Like most people, I was only aware of her as an actress, but I remembered liking her very much in The Phantom of the Opera, her voice as well as appearance.
Inside Out does remind me of Enya, but only in the way that the vocals are layered. The melodies and songs are very memorable, and while there isn't much experimentation in format, each song has its own personality.
Emmy's voice is quite lovely; so much so in fact that sometimes I wished the vocals weren't so layered and ethereal. As much as I like that sound, I was most pleased with the songs where her voice was less processed. The songs themselves have a haunting, melancholic atmosphere combined with thoughtful lyrics written by Emmy herself. Each song on the album is worth listening to, and there are none that I skip.
I am hoping that she is able to make another CD soon, and, in the meantime, I will be enjoying Inside Out and sharing it with my friends and family.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on December 5, 2007
People keep bashing Emmy Rossum for sounding too much like Ms. Heap or other synthesizer-loving divas on her debut album, but the fact of the matter is that music is often an imitation of other styles and influences. If no one sounded similar then all genres - such as pop, rock and R&B - would be absolutely non-existent because nothing would be able to be compared to any other form of music. I believe that this album does have influence from other electronic-aided performers but stands on its own as well. It's definitely an admirable approach from this former opera singer. The pulsating music here sounds like a mix between Donna Lewis (1996's huge hit "I Love You Always Forever"), Frou Frou and aforementioned Heap. Enchanting as it sounds, though, the same problems that plague the artists mentioned above hurt Rossum's effort in that the songs all rely on electronic effects that they often sound like one strung-out song rather than individual pieces of music. Nonetheless, Emmy's unique vocals shine here, whether they stand in front of the background ("Divide") or intermixed with all sorts of studio magic ("A Million Pieces"). Other memorable moments include lead single "Slow Me Down" (a truly magical take on how fast-paced lives today are), the bittersweet ballad "Stay" and "Falling." Is it perfect? No. But admirable? Definitely.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on October 7, 2010
I ordered this CD expecting to be amazed, but after listening to it, I was VERY disappointed. While the songs are all pretty and pleasant to listen to, I found the CD as a whole very disappointing and redundant. Not one of the songs even attempted to showcase Emmy's amazing vocal range; the closest was "Anymore", but even that didn't fully capture the thrilling beauty of her voice. I understood before I purchased the CD that this project wasn't intended to be classical or operatic in style, but still it fell very short of my expectations. If I hadn't first heard her in Phantom and been made aware of her vocal abilities, I'm sure I would have liked it much better. All in all: it's a soothing Enya-style album, but too monotonous for me. I hope that Emmy's next album does more to highlight the amazing vocalist she is. :)