Scenery (Emily King album)

Scenery is the third studio album by American singer-songwriter Emily King. It was released by ATO Records on February 1, 2019, making it her first on the label. Following 2015's The Switch, King reunited with producer Jeremy Most to work on the album. Scenery peaked at number six on the US Billboard Heatseekers Albums. The song "Look at Me Now" gained a nomination for Best R&B Song and Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical at the 2020 Grammy Awards.

Scenery
Scenery-emilyking.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedFebruary 1, 2019
Genre
Length44:00
LabelATO
ProducerJeremy Most
Emily King chronology
The Switch
(2015)
Scenery
(2019)
Change of Scenery
(2019)
Singles from Scenery
  1. "Remind Me"
    Released: October 3, 2018
  2. "Look At Me Now"
    Released: November 5, 2018
  3. "Look At Me Now"
    Released: January 15, 2020

CompositionEdit

Scenery is a pop,[1] R&B,[1][2] neo soul,[3] dream pop,[3] post-disco[1] album with touches of gospel,[1] jazz,[4] and tropical music.[5] King recorded the album in a studio build by her and Jeremy Most in a garage in the Catskill Mountains.[1] The move from her urban life in New York City to the Catskills is reflected in the album's title, as King felt she needed a "change of scenery".[6] The lyrics of album closer "Go Back" also touch on this, with the line "so I lick my wounds, I got nothing to lose, I’m heading out on my own".[7]

Much of the album is about King getting over an ex while finding new love.[1] "Look at Me Now" shows King taunting her lover with "joy and spite reinforced with lively xylophone" and Queen-inspired funk guitar.[1] "Running" is a gospel-inspired ballad where King "yearns to forgive and accept herself."[1][4] "Can't Hold Me" features South Asian percussion, guitar licks and "velvety" synths[4] The quiet storm song "Blue Light" sees King "surrounded by waves of backing vocals" and "swelling Disney-like strings"[3] "Forgiveness" is an electro-ballad that "glides with the same restraint and class as Sade’s most rewarding songs".[3] "Remind Me" is an electro-R&B song that "recalls classic era Madonna or Whitney Houston."[7][2] "Teach You" is a retro-soul[3] and calypso[7] song that is "playful and tender at once" as King gives her lover lessons on how to treat her better.[5][4] The acoustic jazz of "Caliche" tells "a story about being lost in life, paired with Most’s exotic production: complex rhythms, hushed vocals and whoops and hollers in the distance, like the sombre flip side to Lionel Richie’s All Night Long."[5][4] "2nd Guess" evokes Parade-era Prince as King sings about being "free, lost in a sudden romantic diversion, attesting before sheets of noise evoking blinding sunlight that 'Life is always sweeter when there's no regrets.'"[1][4][3]

Critical receptionEdit

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
Metacritic76/100[8]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic     [1]
Exclaim!7/10[4]
Now     [5]
Pitchfork7.7/10[2]
Pop Magazine4.5/5[9]

Scenery received generally positive reviews from contemporary music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 76, based on eight reviews.[8] Andy Kellman of AllMusic rated the album four out of five stars. He wrote that the album "refines the seemingly instinctive and contemporary hybrid sound of 2015's The Switch with more mature pop informed by traditional singer/songwriters, classic R&B into the post-disco era, the high-tech end of mid-'80s top 40 radio, and even a little gospel. All elements are recombined while being neither overtly retro nor wholly allegiant to anything other than durable songcraft (with the occasional sonic flourish)."[1]

Pitchfork's Maggie Lange foung that the "album maps life's changes to sleek, vibrant R&B that's packed with 1980s soundtrack flourishes and big moments; it's the perfect frame for her extraordinary voice."[2] Ryan B. Patrick from Exclaim! found that "with Scenery, [King] makes a statement [...] The 12-track project comes ever-so-close to its intended level of sublime, yet plays things on the safe side: pleasant, powerful, precise. It waves over listening with its earnestness — soothing the consciousness rather than expanding it. It's a clear articulation of King's mastery and intent; Scenery is musically sound, entrancing and implores that you take a look."[4] Chaka V. Grier noted that "with her sparkling 80s-R&B-evoking voice, King sounds like she emanates music rather than sings it [...] In a lesser writer's hands, love songs could convey hackneyed lyrics about desire and heartbreak, but not King. She adds magic to the mundane, cracking it open to reveal multifaceted nuances: longing, pleasure, resentment, jealousy and also self-love."[5]

AccoladesEdit

Accolades for Scenery
Publication List Work Ranking Ref
Pop Magazine Best Albums of 2019 Scenery 18 [10]

Track listingEdit

All tracks are written by Emily King and Jeremy Most and produced by Jeremy Most.

Scenery track listing
No.TitleLength
1."Remind Me"4:03
2."Teach You"4:07
3."Can't Hold Me"4:27
4."Look at Me Now"3:12
5."Caliche"3:53
6."Blue Light"3:47
7."Forgiveness"3:47
8."Running"3:47
9."Interlude (What Love Is)"1:43
10."Marigolds"3:02
11."2nd Guess"3:53
12."Go Back"4:14
Total length:44:00

ChartsEdit

Chart performance for Scenery
Chart (2019) Peak
position
US Top Current Albums (Billboard)[11] 86
US Heatseekers Albums (Billboard)[12] 6
US Independent Albums (Billboard)[13] 14

Change of SceneryEdit

Change of Scenery
 
EP by
ReleasedOctober 11, 2019
Length19:59
LabelATO
ProducerJeremy Most
Emily King chronology
Scenery
(2019)
Change of Scenery
(2019)
Sides
(2020)

Change of Scenery is a remix EP by American singer-songwriter Emily King, featuring remixes of songs from her third studio album Scenery. It was released on October 11, 2019 by ATO Records.[14]

Track listingEdit

Change of Scenery track listing
No.TitleLength
1."Forgiveness" (Wynne Bennett Remix)3:11
2."Can't Hold Me" (Machinedrum Remix)4:11
3."Blue Light" (Taylor McFerrin Remix)3:27
4."Go Back" (Wantigga Remix)3:32
5."Can't Hole Me" (King Britt Anthem Mix)5:38
Total length:19:59

Instrumental albumEdit

Scenery (Instrumentals), An album of instrumental versions of all the album's tracks (excluding "Interlude (What Love Is)") was released on June 19, 2020.[15]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Scenery - Songs, Reviews, Credits - AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved May 5, 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d Lange, Maggie (February 1, 2019). "Review: Scenery". Pitchfork. Retrieved May 5, 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Wright, Jonathan (February 7, 2019). "Emily King – Scenery (ATO)". God is in the tv. Retrieved March 8, 2021.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Patrick, Ryan B. (January 30, 2019). "Emily King: Scenery". Exclaim!. Retrieved May 5, 2019.
  5. ^ a b c d e Grier, Chaka V. (February 4, 2019). "Review: Emily King invites us into her whimsical world on Scenery". Now. Retrieved May 5, 2019.
  6. ^ "Emily King's Change Of 'Scenery'". NPR. February 19, 2019. Retrieved March 8, 2021.
  7. ^ a b c Hall, Michael James (February 6, 2019). "Emily King - Scenery". Under the Radar. Retrieved March 8, 2021.
  8. ^ a b "Scenery Reviews, Ratings, Credits, and More at Metacritic". Metacritic. Retrieved May 5, 2019.
  9. ^ Nelson, Josiah (February 5, 2019). "Review: Emily King – Scenery". Pop Magazine. Retrieved December 30, 2019.
  10. ^ "Best Albums of 2019". Pop Magazine. Retrieved December 30, 2019.
  11. ^ "Emily King Chart History: Top Current Albums". Billboard. Retrieved June 18, 2020.
  12. ^ "Emily King Chart History (Heatseekers Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved May 5, 2019.
  13. ^ "Emily King Chart History (Independent Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved June 18, 2020.
  14. ^ "Change of Scenery (Remix EP) by Emily King". Tidal. Retrieved June 18, 2020.
  15. ^ "Scenery (Instrumentals) by Emily King". Tidal. Retrieved June 20, 2020.