At this point it’s cliche to talk about Emarosa‘s shift to pop from their post-hardcore origins. Besides, it’s not like that kind of historical thinking explains anything about their current retro-tinged pop rock sound (it’s much easier to read hints of their present in their past than vice-versa). 2019’s Peach Club was an unabashed pop album; just glance at the track times, which average 3:21 with a range of only 86 seconds and a meager 21.6 second standard deviation. It’s mathematically perfect pop music, the signature of a band who is less interested in exploration than refinement; they’re after perfection.
“Attention” is an egoistic confession of something that was never really hidden. “I love to be the center of attention,” writes vocalist Bradley Scott “I was born an entertainer.” Attention is the currency of the entertainment industries and a fact of life as a social animal. The pop formula is one of managing attention, and Emarosa’s latest single is a self-aware attention engine.
Scott is as flashy as ever with his pop falsetto and RnB grit. Synth elements dance around the background, sometimes sparse, sometimes dense, always complex enough that they blend into an elaborate soundscape behind the vocals. In the low end, silence is used as a tool to push the rest of the mix forward. The bass spends a lot of time driving down on the first beat of each measure, only sustaining during specific sections to release the tension.
The final act of the song introduces a gospel choir, musical worship being the M/O of all sorts of gods and god-complexes in need of attention (and the gospel choir being the most highly developed form of worship music). The song ends somewhat abruptly and the last thing we’re left with is Scott’s voice trailing off. “You know I don’t like to be alone,” he repeats, but in the final moment of the song we hear exactly that: his voice alone, exposed and vulnerable. “Attention” is a rallying call for those willing to own their egoism, but it doesn’t offer judgement and it doesn’t make any promises.
Coming off the heels of “Preach” back in April, “Attention” should be an unsurprising and satisfying development. With more singles and the full-length followup to Peach Club on the horizon, Emarosa is demonstrating a commitment to anthemic hooks, feel-good 80’s vibes, and unapologetic honesty about who they are and what they’re doing.