I’ve long been fascinated by actors and actresses who decide to record music, possibly stemming from a present I received at a 5th grade birthday party, Shaq Fu: Da Return.  Everyone has heard William Shatner’s recordings, but every so often I’ll share a lesser known foray into music.

First up: Emmy Rossum

You probably at least know Ms. Rossum from her turns in The Day After Tomorrow (where she plays opposite Jake Gyllenhaal) or The Phantom of the Opera (don’t forget, that was Gerard Butler as the Phantom).  She’s currently starring in Shameless, airing on Showtime, in a performance that several critics felt deserved Emmy consideration.  As did I, for three main reasons:

  1. She really is fantastic in the role.
  2. Come on.  Emmy nominated for an Emmy?  Can you even begin to imagine someone like Bruce Vilanch taking a crack at that for awards show banter? 
  3. I’m madly in love with her.

Rossum actually has had a long relationship with music.  Along with Phantom, she’s sung on the soundtracks to her films Nola and Songcatcher.  And at a young age she joined the Metropolitan Opera’s Children’s Chorus.  She apparently has perfect pitch and can sing in a dozen different keys.  Which I can totally relate to, having a singing voice that caused my copy of Rock Band to pop out of the console and slap me in the face.

Rossum released her album, Inside Out, in 2007, where it reached #199 on the Billboard 200 and #2 on the New Age charts.  AMG’s Stephen Thomas Erlewine writes:

 “In its gently swaying melodies and cool textures, Inside Out resembles nothing so much as a teeny version of Watermark, lacking the spooky Celtic overtones of Enya‘s 1988 masterwork but retaining the same dreamy, shimmering qualities of her music, then marrying that wet, glistening sound to a relatively updated production (mainly heard via skittering electronic rhythms) and lovelorn pop tunes. Naturally, this makes for a much lighter record than Enya‘s, one that’s closer in spirit to an old-fashioned teen-pop record because it’s all about love, sweetness, and dreams, and the remarkable thing is that all this earnest adolescence doesn’t jar with the ethereal music.”

Which I copy because he does a much better job than I was going to do of describing what I thought of the album.  Unsurprisingly, given that description, I’m a pretty big fan and I’ve listened to it a number of times over the years.  And I’d definitely agree with Erlewine, the album sounds like it comes from a world where the pop music that reigned supreme sprang from Enya (rather than Madonna).  Impressively, she co-wrote all one but one of the songs on the album (her cover of “Rainy Days and Mondays” is perhaps my second favorite song on the album).  She also recorded an EP of Christmas songs, but I have a fairly low tolerance for holiday music.

I’m especially a fan of the single “Slow Me Down”.  Her sort of choral a cappella arrangements are particularly effective, serving to heighten the tension in the song, matching well with the lyrics.  The music video is below, and I think you’ll see why I’m madly in love with Emmy Rossum, as she’s crazy talented and the camera just adores her.

 

Brilliant, Banal, or Bizarre – Definitely brilliant.  Sure, she’s got a bit of the breathy celebrity singing voice, but that’s a conscious decision here.  She can certainly carry a tune and her stuff is interesting and original.

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