Emily McNally – Small Town EP

Emily McNally

There is a limit to how much digital editing is needed in music, but have we surpassed that limit? As technology continues to improve, audio editing software is being used more and more. YouTube alone is filled with millions of dubstep videos, both original tracks and older songs electronically edited. You hear teens and young adults singing and dancing to it all the time. Meanwhile, I’m not so much a fan of the genre. Sometimes these tracks are made well, but there are many times where dubstep blares from my younger brother’s phone, making me consider ripping off my ears. 

At the same time, I often wonder if any artists even consider recording naturally any more, with little editing made on their songs. Imagine my surprise when I heard the EP “Small Town” by Manhattan-based artist Emily McNally. Emily mainly plays a mix of piano pop and indie pop, inspired by the likes of Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran, and Ingrid Michaelson, and this mix is strangely addicting. I love how natural the instrumentals and vocals are in her tracks. She has an incredibly beautiful voice and her piano-playing is superb. I cannot get enough of her.

Her songs tell stories that keep your attention and she has this innocence in them that is charming, but not sickeningly sweet like other similar artists. Many of her songs, especially those in “Small Town,” are dedicated to her past, such as her hometown in South Jersey and the memories she has of school and her friends. The EP’s titular song shows the narrator telling someone to pursue their dreams, to “become one of those stars shining so bright.” When they reach those dreams, however, she says to remember their small town and her especially. This is probably my favorite song because it’s so encouraging and when you picture Emily singing to you, you definitely are determined to not forget her.

As well, love is a prominent theme in these songs. The EP’s first song, “Hey Blue Eyes,” shows the narrator singing about a love interest that “makes her heart go boom-boom-boom.” She has trouble talking to him outside of her mind because her feelings are so strong for him. However, instead of referring to the oft-sought sexual topics, this song makes you think of a childhood crush. She is struggling to merely speak to him, something we can all relate to.

As I said before though, her natural sound is what makes her so appealing. I wouldn’t be surprised if small edits were made, but they are so minimal you overlook them. Your focus is on her sweet voice, amazing piano skills, and storytelling. It’s a method that has been used for years, but it’s nice to see a newer artist break the trend of dubstep and digital editing. I look forward to future songs from her. If you need to cleanse your palate of dubstep for a moment, Emily is the artist to do it.

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