In constant pursuit of new music, I'm always interested in what people are listening to and any artists they may recommend. Out for a friend's birthday last week, one of her co-workers mentioned fellow Jersey native Val Emmich. She raved about his recent role on "Ugly Betty" as well as his music, so I made sure I wrote his name down to check him out for myself.
What perhaps is most striking about Emmich is the deep and at times melancholy stories behind his songs. At first listen, many tracks have that pop feel, but after paying more attention his tales don't always end well. Take, for instance, "Hurt More Later." The words tell a narrative of the beginnings of a seemingly fruitful relationship, but when paying closer attention you soon realize that this is no fairy tale:
"Conversation comes naturally/He holds your hand real carefully/Butterflies are fluttering/Your courage is sputtering/Cuz you never win/You're finally there/When your heart starts to wear/Cuz you know how this ends/Passion fades, you pretend . . . It hurts now but it will hurt more later/Hurt more later/Much more much later."
While "Hurt More Later" develops it's almost as if a choir of school children are singing along with tambourine features, despite the obvious unfortunate end to a relationship. However depressing the song may seem at it's close, the listener can't help but to hit that repeat button and listen once more.
Emmich's MySpace page includes a solid cover of Tom Petty and the Heartbreaker's "American Girl" as well as some softer ballads, like "Snowy Day." At times his emotion filled songs bring comparison to that of Dashboard Confessional's Chris Carrabba. (See piano-based track "The Only One Lonely").
Whether it's his screaming throughout "Shock" ("You've got one chance to complain/Just one chance to complain/Then I'm leaving") or longing in "Just To Feel Alive Again," one thing is certain — Val Emmich continues to grab your attention. And, with guest roles on "Ugly Betty," "Third Watch" and "30 Rock" the current indie artist will be sure to win over more fans.
For more on Val, be sure to visit him on MySpace.
Recommended: For fans of Dashboard Confessional, The Ataris, and an angsty John Mayer.