Is Emin’s new album worth a listen? London correspondent Deban Aderemi gives us his take.
Having performed for a televised audience of at least 170 million people, Emin Agalarov left Baku as the most spectacular interval act the Eurovision Song Contest has ever seen. Now the breakout star has released his sixth album “After the Thunder,” which seems poised to dominate charts across the continent.
Why? Because Emin, the son-in-law of Azerbaijan’s president, is already a household name in Russia, Georgia and his home country of Azerbaijan. His single “Baby Get Higher” dropped in May, and BBC Radio quickly added it to its playlist. Emin will take an ever-larger place on Europe’s musical radar as he gets ready for a summer of concerts across the continent which will culminate in a special guest appearance with Jennifer Lopez at the opening of the FIFA Women’s World Cup in September.
Listen to Emin discuss “After the Thunder” and Eurovision 2012:
For some, “After the Thunder” will certainly justify all that exposure. It’s a collection of contemporary adult pop that shows how Emin has developed as a songwriter. Although mushy in many parts, the album isn’t sentimental overkill. On first listen, the tracks have a collective cohesion. They could easily be grouped as a collection of Adult Oriented soft-rock B-Sides. The unfortunate consequence is that none of them stand out as hits. What’s really odd, though, is the level of pretension producers have married with this product. A soft-rock pop song doesn’t need Janet Jackson-esque antics. Similar to what happened in Baku earlier in the year, the build-up only served to lay the foundations of a major anti-climax. It was totally unnecessary, and overall, did more harm than good.
“After the Thunder” is not a great album, but it’s a good album. As I listened to the album again, many of the tracks I had previously written off started to sound like gems. The collection of songs definitely build a fuller flavour when you give it another go. “Walk Through Walls,” the current single, is an uplifting song of hope and optimism, befitting the Olympic spirit. The title track delivers. It serves up another angle of Emin’s songwriting and vocal delivery—one that is mainstream but isn’t shallow, one that stands on its own merits rather than on the back of a p.r. machine. It’s a move in the right direction for an emerging cross-over artist.