Emma Steinbakken – Not Gonna Cry

“It’s Big Heavy Instrumentation and a really, really good voice.”

Tim: She’s Norwegian, she’s 15 years old, and– actually, here’s something I’ve never thought to ask before: how do young kids like this end up making music? Do they wander up to a record label’s A&R office and start warbling, or do talent scouts go to school performances and stuff, or what? Because both of those seem really quite weird and/or creepy.

Tom: These days, YouTube, I guess? Other than that, probably pushy parents.

Tim: Hmm, maybe. Anyway, here’s Emma, with some upsettingly rude language coming from someone so young.

Tom: You’re right that this sounds like a song that’s too old for a 15-year-old. But leaving that aside: I like that, for the same reasons that I liked Astrid S’s Emotion a few weeks back. It’s Big Heavy Instrumentation and a really, really good voice. Whatever this genre’s called, it works for me.

Tim: So here’s the thing: I get this song. I appreciate, and I understand what’s good about it – it’s intense in the heavy parts and it’s vulnerable in the quiet parts, the vocals are on point and, as you say, the Big Heavy Instrumentation all works well. But…I don’t really like it. Bits of it I like, and there’s a lot I’m impressed by. There’s just, no compulsion to hit that replay button.

Tom: And there’s the problem. Because as ever, my tests for pop music are: can I hum the chorus after one listen? Do I want to replay it? For this song, it’s a no to both — which is a shame because while it was playing, I thought it was great.

Tim: Shame, really, as I’d like to like it. Oh, well, maybe next time.