Simultaneously poppy, jazzy and swinging, Dutch singer Caro Emerald’s debut album has done well in the UK. This month her album is re-released as a platinum edition and her live date at Shepherd’s Bush in December is already sold out.
On the face of it, this is an album of jazz-era inspired song, but its popularity stems from an up-tempo beat and catchy lyrics, which hark back to a golden age of casinos, wise guys, divas and romance. Deleted Scenes from the Cutting Room Floor was originally released at the beginning of 2010 and lodged itself firmly into a place in the top ten. Although perhaps not the cup of tea for jazz fans looking for something a bit more left-field, her music has done so well in the charts because it does incorporate unusual elements. Emerald’s confident smooth vocals are intersected with mixing on decks and occasional, almost rap-like, voiceovers. This is music that has been made to dance to. It’s also music that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Fun is the central concept in this album, and the each song aims to tell a story, from the sultry ‘The Other Woman’ to the raspy sax in ‘That Man’.
The downside to keeping the music accessible and danceable is that the songs have the tendency to be a little repetitive, with the vocals exploring a fairly narrow range. The trad feel sometimes slips into Katy Perry-esque choruses, particularly in songs life ‘Riviera Life’. However, this album has raced through the chart and Emerald has garnered praise from a variety of sources for her exuberant and carefree live performances. This release celebrates this with the inclusion of a DVD of a live concert on her home turf at Amsterdam’s Heineken Music Hall.