It’s hard to begin writing about Emmy Rossum and her sophomore album, Sentimental Journey. At first, my instinct is fangirl about her, to write about how she inspired me to maintain my vocal purity throughout high school. Who didn’t want to be Christine Daae and win over the hearts of a mysterious phantom and a charming viscount? It was, and probably still is, every vocalists dream to be listed as an “Angel of Music.” However, this article isn’t about my past, but of a period where vinyl records cracked in the distance.
In 2007, Emmy Rossum released ambient-pop record titled, Inside Out. It was an experimental album that captivated the instrumental use of the voice. Tracks were multilayered with little to no accompaniment. For an experimental record, it was gorgeous. Yet, between you and I, there was still something missing. The record was clearly personal, vulnerable, but still not quite as strong as it could have been.
Sentimental Journey is a musical advent calendar for the entire year. The catch? We don’t have to wait each month to peel back a tiny strip of cardboard. In fact, our first glimpse into Rossum’s journey began in reverse chronological order with “Pretty Paper” back in December of last year. Suffice to say, it was a pretty track, and immediately I worried if that’s all Sentimental Journey would maintain – delicate prettiness.
While the album it is a personal homage to Rossum’s musical history, it is also a tribute the classics, the golden era of music itself. To cover songs well-known and full of soul is a slippery road, one wrong arrangement and the tone could shift dramatically. But for those of us who aren’t so well versed in our histories probably won’t even bat an eyelash at Rossum’s stylistic choices, others may stare with their mouths agape and mutter a Los Angeles, “serious?” Personally, I feel that Rossum has finally put in that little piece that was initially missing on Inside Out.
September’s bluesy little piece, “Nobody Knows You When You’re Down,” was the track that really sung its heart out to me. There is a grittiness to Rossum’s voice that hadn’t been there before. Perhaps portraying Fiona Gallagher helped the Angel of Music lose her vocal purity. The rawness of her voice is refreshing. The pretty paper has been torn, so to speak. There are of course, still playful pieces where that grit and grime doesn’t belong. November’s, “Things,” is a fun country tune that utilizes “the rasp,” but not to display a despairing emotion.
Sentimental Journey maintains its consistency of time through music and artwork. Rossum has successfully comprised a collection of covers that reflects the moods of each month. Despite that the arrangements aren’t entirely tampered with, I feel preserving the elegance of the track reminds us that a song can transcend through the ages. Quite simply put, some things simply don’t have to change to be new or different. This is the kind of album of reflection, where we can share and sing along with one another as the days go by.