Quarter-life crisis dance party! Emei’s new single, “Late to the Party,” is stinging, relatable, radio-friendly pop. It’s her party, and she’ll cry if she wants to. (You would cry too, and if you’re an indie musician, you have.)
The song’s in a contemporary pop idiom, with an aptly horror-movie undertone. The sound — on trend, polished, imbued with dread — adds bite to lyrics about feeling left behind in the rush to success. Production fills in all the nervous echoes and self-mockery that goes with the mood.
“Twenty-one and still no Grammy or degree” belongs on merch. Lyrics take a ride (in a used car, natch) through the kind of thoughts that visit musicians at 3 in the morning. If the standard of pop success is being a Disney kid, or going diamond at 21 like Adele, what’s left?
The message of the song turns out self-affirming, but it’d be a spoiler to reveal, and the journey is satisfying. So go listen! Also, read more about Emei from my interview with her earlier this summer.