Egg In The Backseat, by Em Beihold
Em Beihold has risen, at least briefly, to the consciousness of pop fans through her top 20 hit “Numb Little Bug,” which is a song that I consider to be worthy of honorable mention status for 2022 so far among the building YE Hot 100 list (spoiler alert, perhaps). I have also seen the video for “Too Precious,” which is also relatable even if it has been far less popular to date. After coming to the attention of music labels through the viral success of a song called “Groundhog Day,” I think, which I am not yet familiar with, Em Beihold struggled with depression even as her professional dreams of making it as an artist were coming true. The title of EP itself suggests a sense of fragility as well as movement, and I am curious to see if the material has any sort of unifying theme besides the singer’s winsome quirkiness and the sub-three minute runtime of all of the songs. Let’s find out.
The EP begins with “Goo,” a song with quirky vocal melodies and delicate instrumentals, which appear very much on brand for the singer, as well as a song that reflects on the singer not being thought of fun enough to be with by her beloved. “Numb Little Bug,” the big hit here, follows with its reflective lyrics about fighting for survival against depression and worries about anti-depressants. “Porcelein” again underscores this sense by others that the singer is fragile while she wrestles with this with spoken word covert rapping, plaintive singing and some excellent instrumental production. The title track follows up with some driving singing and instrumentation and some well-sung reflections on a bad romantic experience that is leaving her broken and distracted. “Too Precious” reflects on the singer as a passionate but responsible homebody who is thought of as being too boring for the people that she is around. “12345” is the next song on the album, and it reflects the singer’s depression and anxiety and her struggle against its effects. “Spiderman” is a sweet, wistful song where the singer reflects on someone who would be a good lover, but where she reflects on her safe distance of communicating through screens while avoiding intimacy in person.
This EP tends to reflect on both the fragility of relationships as well as of the singer herself. The EP is cohesive, united by a cute but melancholy instrumentation as well as the singer’s quirky singing and personality. The emotional range of this EP is admittedly a bit narrow, ruminating on depression and anxiety and on sehnsucht (longing, yearning), but if you happen to be someone who this material relates to and appeals to, this narrowness of range is focus rather than a lack of creativity or originality. As someone who can relate all to well to the emotional palette of the singer, this EP is definitely a strong one. It is hard to know if anything else here is destined to be a hit–12345 and Spiderman seem like obvious follow-up singles–but this is an EP that definitely has a target audience to be aiming at, namely anxious and conscientious romanticists who feel sincerely and passionately but awkwardly and often unsuccessfully. If this sounds like you, consider Em Beihold one of your tribe.