Emilie Autumn Liddell, born September 22 1979, is a gothic poet, singer/songwriter, violinist, harpsichordist, performance artist, feminist, and author. She's self-described as that she sounds "like the best cup of English Breakfast spiked with cyanide and smashed on your antique wallpaper." Well, OK then.Of Emilie's life, very little is known at the moment. What we do know is that she started playing violin at the age of four, a talent that she has continued to this day, and that she voluntarily stayed away from most of the mainstream music communities (both classical and commercial) due to bad experiences and clashes within them: in fact, most of her albums were self-published by her own company. Her first album was On a Day..., a classical album released in 2000, when she was 20 or 21. The following year she put out the Chambermaid and By the Sword EPs. In 2003 her first full vocal album was released: Enchant, an album filled with a number of songs inspired by fairy tales. Also contained in this CD was the Enchant Puzzle, which no one has ever solved. This was the Enchant era, when Emilie was a faerie.After going through an extremely awful period in her life that resulted in a suicide attempt and institutionalization, she was inspired to move in a different artistic direction. This began with the Opheliac EP, followed by full album Opheliac. This album was far darker than Enchant, and a reflection of Emilie's mental state, as this album was released as an agreement with herself that she'd make the album instead of killing herself. The songs are mostly about madness and suicide, particularly in water. Much of the album is influenced by William Shakespeare, as is made obvious by the title. Many of the songs are not written from the perspective of Emilie, but from Ophelia herself, the Lady of Shalott, and others. Later in 2007, she re-released Enchant along with A Bit o' This and That, which was a collection of previously unheard songs, re-mixes and tracks from older EPs. Also released that year was Laced/Unlaced. Laced was a re-release of On a Day, while Unlaced was an all-new collection of instrumental songs done in her newer style. In 2009 she was able to release her autobiography, The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls. She has also released The Opheliac Companion, which provides information and background about the songs on Opheliac.The Opheliac era is what Emilie is most well known for. And from gaining more muffins (fans), she was able to make more and more theatrical tours which gained more and more theatrics tour by tour. Joining her on stage in the Asylum are her Bloody Crumpets, a group of lovely mad girls.In 2012 she released another CD, Fight Like a Girl, which had been lingering in Development Hell for several years. Despite her initial promises that it was going to be "more metal" than Opheliac was, it ended up being a theatrical concept album based around the fictionalized Victorian story that appeared in The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls. According to Emilie, she intends to use the album as part of the soundtrack to the play she's currently writing about the book. The album has created a Broken Base in the fandom because of its differences from the highly popular Opheliac, and because the violin plays a much less significant role it in than it had in her previous music. Her current look and shows are generally referred to as the FLAG era by fans.She appeared in "The Devil's Carnival", a short experimental film released in 2012 by the creators of Repo! The Genetic Opera- Darren Bousman and Terrance Zdunich. Playing the Painted Doll, she starred alongside a very diverse cast, including Clown from Slipnot, Alexa Vega, Paul Sorvino and two of her Crumpets, Captain Maggots and Contessa. With the success of the movie, she's due to reappear in subsequent sequels.
On a Day... (1997, re-released in Laced/Unlaced in 2007)
Enchant (2003, re-released 2007)
Your Sugar Sits Untouched (2005, CD and poetry book)
Opheliac (2006, re-released 2009)
A Bit o' This & That (2007)
Fight Like A Girl (2012)
Extended Plays and Official Singles
By the Sword (2001)
Opheliac EP (2006, preview EP)
Liar/Dead Is the New Alive (2006)
4 o'Clock (2008)
Girls Just Wanna Have Fun & Bohemian Rhapsody (2008)
Anachronism Stew: The harpsichord, a baroque instrument, is not the most conventional choice to complement a Victorian theme. In The Opheliac Companion, Emilie acknowledges and hand waves this by explaining that, just as present-day Emilie is "150 years retro", so too is her Victorian alter-ego, who would thus draw her inspiration from the early 1700s.
Arc Words: The phrases "tide coming in" and "water is rising" appears frequently in her songs, mostly in reference to suicide by drowning.
All Just a Dream: The Fight Like a Girl music video, except for the very beginning and the very end. The inmates being liberated and taking over the Ophelia Gallery turns out to be a fantasy of Emily's—but there is a sliver of hope at the end.Which, considering how the book ends, may just make it even sadder.
Asexuality: Emilie used to identify as asexual, but she recently revealed to the press that she "never disliked sex, [she had] just never been with anyone who was any good at it". It would appear that she confused enjoying sex with sexual attraction, which, sadly for many asexuals, is a common misconception.
Aesop: Her one true message over her entire career has been one of Anti repression and taking control of your own life. (In a meta and in most of her songs sense)
Ax-Crazy: "Time For Tea", "Fight Like A Girl", "I Know Where You Sleep", "Scavenger", "We Want Them Young"
Award Bait Song: "What Will I Remember", given a reprise as "Start Another Story".
Battle Cry: Lampshaded a few times in Fight Like A Girl, Time For Tea and If I Burn
Bedlam House: The Asylum book contains letters from a girl in one of these places. Also her song "4 O'Clock" and "Miss Lucy Had Some Leeches" are both about the girls in these places.
"Fight Like A Girl" is the album which will serve as inspiration for either a movie or a stage show about her story, also set in a Bedlam House.
Be Yourself: What If and How Strange and arguably her empowerment/anti repression message.
Making it even more bittersweet - it's implied from the context that the girls are, in fact, liberated indeath.
Book Ends: Enchant begins and ends with the same music box tune.
Bowdlerisation: For a televised performance of "Misery Loves Company", Emilie needed a more family-friendly word to replace "fuckers". After fans gave their suggestions, the word "muffins" was decided upon, and thus was born a Fan Community Nickname.
Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Despite flouncing around on stage dressed as an inmate in a Victorian Asylum, or in years gone by a faerie, there is little denying that Emilie is a top notch violinist.
Broken Bird: All of Opheliac, no exceptions; and much of Fight Like A Girl and Enchant.
Call Back: She's gone out of her way to make sure Opheliac and Fight Like A Girl are two related concept albums.
The middle eight of "Fight Like a Girl" is the same melody as the middle eight of "Misery Loves Company", albeit with different lyrics.
"Goodnight, Sweet Ladies" samples "4 O'Clock", "The Art of Suicide" and "If I Burn".
"Gaslight" calls back "Art Of Suicide" in its opening notes.
"I Don't Understand" refers to the "Opheliac" theme of the prior album.
"If I Burn" has a chant at the end which is the same style as "Let The Record Show" chant on "Opheliac"
"4 O clock Reprise" refers explicitly to a song which came out before Fight Like A Girl.
The various call backs within Fight Like A Girl Album. (What Will I Remember-Start Another Story, Gaslight-Gaslight reprise)
Careful With That Axe - several songs feature this on Opheliac. Examples include "I Want My Innocence Back", "Opheliac", "Misery Loves Company" and "I Know Where You Sleep", both featuring harsh yelling towards the end and "Liar" is practically made of this trope.
The end of "Take the Pill". "TAKE IT!! TAKE IT!! TAKE IT!! TAKE IT!! TAKE IT!! TAKE IT!! TAKE IT!! TAKE IT!! SWALLOW!!! SWALLOW!!! SWALLOW!!! SWALLOW!!!" SWALLOW!!! SWALLOW!!! SWALLOW!!! SWALLOW!!!"
And the acoustic version of "Mad Girl".
Fight Like A Girl album - rock opera will feature this trope a lot.
Clock Punk / Steam Punk: Probably not intentionally, but her neo-Victorian style and persona from Unlaced and Opheliac came at the same time the Steam Punk style is becoming very popular in goth circles and among cosplayers. She's often listed as a steampunk music artist as a result. Her current style also includes a lot of clockwork motifs, especially live. She has also described things that she makes and sells on eBay as "steampunk".
Cluster F-Bomb: Otten in her reviews she tends to do this, hilariously.
Cloud Cuckoolander: She spends her time being an inmate in a Victorian Asylum and used to be a faeire. Seriously.
Child Prodigy: Basically came out of the womb playing the Violin. (Technically since the age of 4)
Colbert Bump: The Unicorn hat became far harder to find after Emilie wore one.
Cover Version: She's done a fair share of covers. The covers that she has done are "I Don't Care Much" from Cabert, "I Know It's Over" originally by The Smiths, "All My Loving" by The Beatles, a harpsichord cover of "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life", "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" by Cyndi Lauper and Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" which she sings on tour, "Gloomy Sunday" (without the second ending [which she refers to in "The Art of Suicide"]) orignally by László Jávor and Rezső Seress, "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots" by The Flaming Lips, and "Asleep" by The Smiths.
Cassandra Truth: A theme of her Fight Like A Girl/The Asylum For Wayward Victorian Girls projects.
Opheliacdisk 1: Scorned Women, Ophelia, Anti Suicide, Escapism, and Sexism/Anti Misogyny
Opheliacdisk 2: Sexism/Anti Misogyny, Escapism, Suicide, and Insanity.
Fight Like A Girl: The horrors of the asylum, variously from the points of view of the inmates, their family members and the doctors.
Conversational Troping: Tropes in general are discussed in the Opheliac companion; specifically, the way Shakespeare and Tennyson didn't create any of the archetypes they popularised, but instead compiled these archetypes into a (figurative) book.
Central Theme: Even in her "Enchant" days she had this message that you are stronger then you think you are and you are not alone.
Creator Breakdown: Had a major one between Enchant and Opheliac which led to her attempting suicide and being put into a psych ward during the recording of Opheliac.
Creepy Monotone: "I Want My Innocence Back", "Scavenger", "We Want Them Young".
Double Entendre: From Marry Me: "And when dining on peacock, I know I won't swallow"
Doing It for the Art: Alternative violinindustrial rock opera girl power continuer and so much more. Another indication of this is that all of her albums (at least in downloadable forms) are consistently priced at or around $10, even her double albums which have more than 20 tracks apiece.
Dye Hard: Emilie's pink or red hair that changes shade from dye to dye or wig to wig is integral to her image. Gel Hard she now wears a mohawk for her Fight Like A Girl tour shows.
Ethereal Choir: A Bit o' This and That makes great use of this, with "Hollow Like My Soul", "Find Me a Man" and "O Mistress Mine" each having an elaborate vocal harmony. Emilie's "girls", as she calls her multiple vocal tracks, also appear numerously on "Goodnight, Sweet Ladies".
Executive Meddling: The story behind this t-shirt◊: When Emilie Autumn was first trying to find a record deal, she had to talk with several record label executives, and every one of them invariably tried to rail her towards a more mainstream image. One of them was apparently so obnoxious and dismissive of anything she could say, Emilie allegedly abandoned the reunion to cool off and she came back after having write on the t-shirt she was wearing "Sorry, was I thinking again?". She eventually recorded her first albums under her own label, and between the first pieces of merch she sold was a replica of said tee.
Fading into the Next Song: "We Want Them Young" fades into "If I Burn". The lyrics are even connected. ("We Want Them Young" ends with the line "when will they fall, when will they BURN?"
Fake Brit: Emilie affects an English accent in much of her work, particularly FLAG and Your Sugar Sits Untouched. She does a good job with it on the whole, although there's the occasional rhyme for which it's ill-suited ("thought"/"not" in "The Key", for example).
Lolita Fashion: Her fashion style isn't exactly Lolita - it leans more towards "neo-Victorian", but she does appreciate the style. She has developed a cult following among some Lolita circles, many of whom dress up for her live shows.
Lolicon: Viciously deconstructed in "Gothic Lolita". In effect, she drew ire from the Lolita community for invoking the scene's biggest Berserk Button. It has since died down ever since she said that she was only referring to the book, but bringing up the song or its lyrical content around Lolita fashion fans is a very, very bad idea.
Limited Special Collector's Ultimate Edition: To date the only releases that have no re-release are the Chambermaid and By the SwordE Ps (but the two are on A Bit o' This and That). Most are just a limited edition digipack, and then a jewel case, but the re-release of Enchant has a story to bridge the gap between it and Opheliac and no Enchant puzzle. Then there is Opheliac. Oh God, Opheliac. First there was the two disc digipack. After it sold out, Emilie released a one disc jewel case version and after fans demanded the content from disc two of the limited edition a two disc digipack. Two years after the album was released in Europe, the album got a wide release in the US, with three more tracks exclusive to the issuing, and, finally, a third issuing with all tracks from the previous US edition, four songs recorded for that edition, excerpts from The Asylum, live videos and a video with her and her friend, fLee.
Lyrical Dissonance: Lots and lots. "Marry Me", "The Art Of Suicide", "Shalott", "Miss Lucy Had Some Leeches" and "My Fairweather Friend" are a few examples.
Don't Blame Me And HOW!
"Gaslight", "If I Burn", "What Will I Remember" in a similar way to "The Art Of Suicide/Shalott"
"4 O'Clock" a song about how insomnia is slowly killing her to the tune of a lullaby.
Lyrical Tic: She likes rolling her Rs. She also has her voice break intentionally a lot (like in "Liar" and "If I Burn"), usually when transitioning from normal singing to Careful With That Axe. (the voice break is a sign that she's going to scream at some point)
Minsky Pickup: "Girls! Girls! Girls!" ends with the variant of this, true to the 19th century show tunes on which it is based.
Misandry Song: "Fight Like a Girl" and "Time for Tea" refer to a war against 49% of the world's population, although Emilie is careful never to explicitly exclude males. She even adds, "Even if you're only a boy, you can fight like a girl."
Misogyny Song: "Girls! Girls! Girls!" is this - sarcastically, of course.
Mood Whiplash: The first minute or so "Opheliac" is nice classical-esque instrumental work. Then she starts singing, lyrics are a bit off but it's still more or less pleasant. Then the chorus kicks in and she startsscreaming.
The violent, industrial/goth "Time For Tea" is followed by the ethereal Dream Pop-esque instrumental "4 O'clock Reprise". Then comes the showtunes-inspired "What Will I Remember?" - which is then followed by the harsh, gothic, feminist, anti-ableist Protest Song "Take The Pill".
Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly: Enchant is already pretty difficult to describe, since it combines jazz, pop, and violins. For the time she released Opheliac she began to describe her music as "victoriandustrial" and "violindustrial". She's described as using elements of classical music, cabaret, electronica, industrial, glam rock with theatrics, and burlesque
New Sound Album: Enchant, Opheliac and Fight Like A Girl are each very different in style to the other two.
The sound of one is the beginning of her song Gothic Lolita. The music-box starts to skip as the backing track gets more eerie.
"4 O'Clock" plays with this.
Non-Appearing Title: Her instrumentals, as well as songs such as "Rapunzel", "Juliet", and "Shalott".
Her debut vocal album doesn't feature the world "Enchant".
The Ophelia: Master trope of Opheliac, and mentioned in "I Don't Understand" as a call back. In the Opheliac Companion, Autumn defines an Opheliac as someone who is predisposed towards self-destruction.
Obsession Song: Be Silent Be Still, Opheliac and Liar has these under tones.
One-Woman Wail: Touched on in a few of her songs, like Rose Red and the Blackbird remix of What If. In EA's case it's literally one woman, as she performs all of the main and backing vocals for her songs.
Pachelbel's Canon: The Other Wikinotes that as a child she would mentally play the piece each night to suppress her auditory hallucinations. The influence of it can be heard in several of her songs: "Save You" contains a few bars of the melody, and the ostinato from the piece is present in "Ancient Grounds" and "Let the Record Show".
She wears dreads, gothic clothing and puts out lots of songs related to bad things like death, rape and suicide. However, she has just as many happy classical violin solos and some genuinely light and happy love songs, in amongst the darkness.
Emilie's stage persona is that of a violent, insane girl locked in a Victorian madhouse. In Real Life, Emilie actually is mentally ill, but she is also a quiet, sweet Cloud Cuckoolander, bookworm and apparently a huge Star Wars geek.
Scunthorpe Problem: The word filter on her forum changes 'fans' to 'muffins'. This would be okay, except for when talking of, say, burlesque fans or anything similar.
The titles of "Syringe" and "Face the Wall" are likely a shout-out to the scene in Terminator 2 in which Sarah Connor escapes from the mental institution. She holds the doctor hostage with a syringe in his neck, and orders a guard to face the wall.
Sonnet: Your Sugar Sits Untouched contains several, although they are ten lines long instead of the more usual fourteen.
So What Do We Do Now?: "One Foot In Front Of The Other" is a really, reallybittersweet example. The Asylum characters literally have no idea what to do - not because they liked fighting, but because they have no lives outside of captivity, and are too unstable and broken to ever be able to function in normal society. "We've been committed - now to what do we all commit?" They change the Asylum into a place where they can live in sanctuary from the outside world until the building collapses leading to the death of all of them.
Studio Chatter: "Let The Record Show" starts with a three-second conversation: "How was that?" "Good."
"If I Burn", "What Will I Remember", "I Don't Understand", "Gaslight" on Fight Like A Girl.
"If I Burn" actually zig-zags wildly between being gentle ("but the softer I become, the harder your machines close over me") and being outright violent ("when you sleep, you'll feel my icy fingers crawling down your back"), culminating in the "but it's never over!" part.
Survival Mantra: "One foot in front of the other foot in front of the one foot in front of the other..."
There Are No Therapists: Well, actually, there are, but they're terrible at their jobs. In Emilie's case, she was sexually abused during her institutionalisation, but no-one would believe her because "you're the crazy girl and he's the doctor with the million dollar education".
Title Drop: The title of Your Sugar Sits Untouched comes from her poem Ghost
if one day your sugar sits untouched will you have gone forever
Enforced Method Acting: The "tea" is mixed by Maggots before each show, is different from show to show, and Emilie doesn't know what's going to be in it until she drinks it on stage; her reaction to the flavour is genuine. If you're wondering, the tea is generally a mix of alcohol and/or citrus juice.
Sweet Polly Oliver: In the Fight Like A Girl tour, Emilie spends several songs dressed up as a boy. Not very convincingly, but there you are.
Take That, Audience!: Emilie and the Crumpets, shocked at finding no fewer than 300 erotic fanfics of themselves online, hilariously act out one of the more poorly written ones. Veronica gets revenge with a story of her own.
Throw It In: The Rat Game was started because Veronica was told to keep the audience at a show in Germany entertained while Emilie solved a problem and she came up with the idea to make out with a girl. This was instantly a very popular idea on the forum and Emilie decided to keep it.