Reviews: Emilie Autumn

Sorry, EA. I just can't do it.

Emilie Autumn. I first discovered her a way back when I was in my "Lestat" phase, and found "Syringe" on a fanmix. I thought it was amazing, and devoured everything I could find relating to her. Songs like "I Want My Innocence Back" and "Opheliac" resonated with me, and I listened to her almost non-stop.

Then, I discovered what a liar she is. Her real name is Emily Fritzges, not Emilie Autumn Liddell. She has lied about things such as gifts for fans being stolen from her house (while her recording equipment and instruments were mysteriously left untouched), lied about her family being dead, lied about being asexual... There's also the fact that almost every artist or collaborator she's worked with has ended their professional relationship due to "issues" with her. That's not even getting into her "mental illness" and how she's letting it control her life and dictate everything she does (as a post I once saw put it: "I hope my patients never find out about EA. She does exactly what you SHOULD NOT DO when it comes to mental illness; lets it define her, rule her life and uses it as an excuse to be cruel, insensitive and avoid her obligations.") Her attitude towards other artists (like Lady Gaga) sickens me, to be honest (saying she wanted to "blow her brains out" after hearing "Alejandro" while out shopping). Her feminism strays towards the more radical side (which is a whole other can of worms that shan't be opened here), and she's only taking the elements of Victorian history that suit her and make her look good. Her live shows (when she isn't canceling them and then not honoring VIP tickets, forcing fans to buy new ones) have turned into nothing but titillating burlesque shows.

And what of the music? On relistening... Most of it really isn't that special. The instrumental tracks are phenomenal, but even I have to admit that as a lyricist, EA's gone downhill fast. Her voice often descends into a sort of... "muddled growl", as I've heard it described, although songs like "Rose Red" show what she can do when she puts her mind to it.

Sorry, Emilie. Autumn's over for me, and winter is coming.

Good when demonstrating her skills correctly.

Much of Emilie Autumn's work is a required taste. Personally I find Enchant, The Jane Brooks Project and Laced/Unlaced to be the most demonstrative of her skill as a violinist and vocalist. Laced/Unlaced is brilliant and truly shows off her violin talents. In her other works she is notorious for choosing a vocal range that doesn't flatter her in the slightest, particularly a low pitched tone or growl. While Emilie and some of her more devoted fans have a tendency to over estimate her vocal talent, she does have a nice voice if you listen to the correct song.

Enchant is Emilie's best album, hands down. When I was younger I preferred Opheliac but I prefer the vocal style in Enchant. The lyrics were stronger and the ethereal, new age feel is fresh and fun to kick back to. Opheliac has some good songs with excellent vocals, instrumental backing and clever lyrics and commentary (Mary Me, Shallot) but some are overshadowed by overly repetitive lyrics (God Help Me and Liar) and unfitting vocals (the art of suicide, liar, gothic lolita)while other songs would have been better with less electronic backing (I Want My Innocence Back) but overall it's not a bad listen and has pretty good songs. Fight Like a Girl, however, is not one of her strong suits. As I've already mentioned, she's very prone to using styles that don't suit her talent and FLAG is an excellent example. The lyrics, based on her book, are weak. I feel the emotion seems unrealistic and sappy and that they come off as amateur at best. The campy musical style is off-putting, corny and downright laughable at times, even for campy musical standards. It just doesn't work.

Since her overall skills as an entertainer are important to her career, I'll go over that as well. Her costumes are beautiful and very reflective of what her music represents, and while I don't exactly like all of her current costumes, they do fit the concept of FLAG rather beautifully. Her stage shows are a lot of fun and I enjoy how personal she is with her audience. The interactivity and burlesque themes are a blast. My main problem with her as a performer however is her exploitation of mental illness. YYMV, of course, but I feel using her bipolar as a marketing tool to be more harmful than helpful for the mental illness community. Overall, Emilie is a decant artist, depending on how she's using her talents.