TRACK: Emmy the Great – ‘A Window/O’Keefe’: a Laurel Canyon lovers’ classic

Emmy the Great, photographed by Alex Lake

BELLA UNION’S crafter of intelligent guitar pop with a real classic vibe, Emmy the Great, is gearing up to release her new album April /月音 on October 9th; and in preparing to open the door and let us in to that world, she’s released what sounds like a gorgeous highlight from an intense diary of an album in the shape of “A Window / O’Keeffe”. Take a listen below.

We’ve taken a look at previous single drops “Dandelions/Liminal” which had a real breeziness and nous; and the gentle Americana of “Mary” – all of which point at a really rather pretty album in a few weeks.

“A Window / O’Keeffe” proceeds on a simple and harmonious guitar figure, a twelve-string wending through on a pretty counterpoint. It tugs your heartstrings with this high-register chorus, as she describes one of those moments of a lovers’ epiphany, the sort you also hear described in PJ Harvey’s “You Said Something”. It’s a Laurel Canyon classic for the 21st century.

“I said Georgia O’Keefe and you showed me your teeth all white … art is the way that we frame what we see / But these days I crave … anonymity,” she sings.

Emmy says: “’A Window/ O’Keeffe’ was written about my last summer living in Brooklyn.

“I’d just travelled to China for the first time and had a moment in a temple, and the entire summer I would only wear ‘lucky’ colours – royal yellow, dusty orange, or the red that scares away ghosts.

“It was a summer of bright sun and dizzying freedom, the kind that only happens when your life is about to change. The city was a film set of burst fire hydrants and music playing constantly from open windows.

“On the grass outside my apartment, people documented their lives on their phones, and I walked through their videos on my way to meet friends.

“The world was shifting, and maybe we didn’t always like where it was going, but it was summer now, and we were together.

“When I finished the song in Hong Kong that October, the colours of an O’Keeffe exhibit I’d been to see at the Brooklyn museum had seeped into my memories of that time.

“In many ways, this song is about colour, though it’s also about the friendship between women, something I leaned on as I moved into the next phase of my life.”

Emmy the Great’s April /月音 will be released by Bella Union on October 9th on digital, CD and vinyl formats; there’s a limited special edition vinyl issue. It’s available to pre-order now.

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