by Annie Fell (@zitremedies)
Having to deal with intense heartbreak while coincidentally being isolated far from your home—i.e., being forced to deal with the pain head on—seems like it could be the derivative plot of an uninspired rom com. However, after going through a breakup while working in Alaska (about 4,000 miles from her home in New York), Emily Yacina did not come out of the experience with a whirlwind romance with a mysterious, yet kind stranger who is down to earth but also shockingly hot??? Rather, she wrote and recorded her most complex album thus far.
Yacina gained notoriety for her acoustic, diaristic bedroom releases. Though she retains her signature intimacy on Heart Sky, the album is her most well-rounded and layered release to date. Most of the songs feature drum parts from various collaborators, including Florist’s Jonnie Baker, Snail Mail’s Shawn Durham, and Cleo Tucker of Girlpool. The addition signals a shift from Yacina’s previous bedroom-to-Bandcamp EPs to multidimensional music that would be most effective when performed on stage.
The most striking song on the album is its opener, “Bad Kid.” The track leads with the album’s mission statement: “Wanted to find out where it went wrong.” Though probably the most similar in style to her previous work, Yacina’s lethargic vocals allow for her lyrics to be savored. Yacina has always shined brightest when her words aren’t muddled by lo-fi filters. Many of the other songs on the album, particularly “Sore” and “Keep Up,” are generally sunnier and poppier than her previous releases in their composition, though her trademark melancholic lyrics remain intact.
Heartbreak should catalyze a major personal growth; to remain stagnant in the face of such an extreme emotional change—be it in one’s personal life or art--would be mean an embarrassing lack of self awareness. I obviously can’t speak to Yacina’s personal life, but Heart Sky signals considerable growth in her musicianship. All that’s left is to find that non-threateningly hot stranger.