Track Review: Emily Jean Flack: Changing

‘The transformative musicality of ‘Changing’ makes it a track that has to be experienced.’


 

Delivering us her first single since 2019’s accomplished sounding, folk-centred EP Throwing Shapes, Canadian singer-songwriter Emily Jean Flack returns with the utterly outstanding ‘Changing’. Offering up a stark contrast in terms of musical direction, production, and lyricism, the track focuses on sending a message to all those who will listen that ‘you are enough and don’t go changing for the world.’ If you need reassurance of that fact today, tomorrow, or the day after, be sure to let this help you on your way.

Balancing rhythmic rigour and freedom, the moments we initially experience in Emily’s new single ‘Changing’ are immensely understated. The fading piano progressions carry an elegance, a naturalness, a sense of unforced purpose too. The beauty found within the vocals is of unbounded quality and as such forms an auditory pairing that allows immediate connections to occur. This is, in no small part, aided by not just the subtle vocal harmonies, but Emily’s ability to shift tone in such a sublime manner.

Blending vibratos, whisper-tinted inflections, and more directive, yet delicate projections, the lyricism subtly creeps into your ears. It doesn’t abruptly awaken you to the story within, more soothes your listening experience of it. It could, given this is a track about ‘telling someone far away that you love them for who they are and learning to lean into our uniqueness’, be one of drama and musical empowerment that as a result empowers you. However somehow, the calmness carries a level of impact greater than the former may allow.

“If we do, or if we don’t, all that I know is, 
Don’t go changing for the world, your heart is where I’m home.”

Evolving during the second verse, the scene setting musicality of the opening gently blossoms into an evocative blend of atmospheric content and deeply heartfelt storytelling. Metaphorical lines such as ‘I’m scared to show you all my scars that lay upon my back’ draw wonderfully on the parts of ourselves that we keep in reserve, while the warmth generated by texture welcomes us in. Likewise, the touching approach to musicality makes its way into the beautifully enhancing electric guitar motifs to take us to a place reminiscent of London Grammar. It’s worth noting here that making comparisons to other artists something I rarely do, but sometimes it is warranted. And this is one of those times.

Initially fleeting in nature, but becoming increasingly apparent, the setting and delivery of chorus line ‘All that I know is don’t go changing for the world’, carries a magic equal to that of the aforementioned. Whether it’s the floaty, melismatic phrasing within the vocal, the shortening of harmonic progressions, or how the softest of bass motifs emerges, there’s a mesmeric quality that simply must be experienced. Something which only gets reaffirmed in the latter parts of the release. 

Leaving behind those more humble beginnings, the instrumental centre gradually turns from acoustic centred to one built on pulsating synths, distant radio-transmission like vocals and lusciously evolving textural content. Then bringing with it an immense intensity, effect-enhanced percussion reverberates and hectic sweeps surge into existence. It is, without doubt, one of the most impressive transformations I’ve heard in a long while.

Where you may have found comfort within the initial calmness, here the track demands you to listen at a much deeper level. And as it does so, do just that. Let your barriers down and allow yourself become consumed by the overwhelming emotions that ignite inside you. For if you do, you’ll open yourself up to an experience that overflows with catharsis, grabs hold of you from within, and pushes home a long lasting message.

Changing by Emily Jean Flack is available in all the usual places now.

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