EMA’s New Album Captures the Sound of Looming Chaos

The third offering from singer Erika M. Anderson unspools ominous tales of alienation and anger.

EMA

Exile in the Outer Ring

City Slang

Chromatic PR

Exile in the Outer Ring is the sound of looming chaos. Recorded primarily in what she calls a “shitty apartment” in Portland, Ore., the gripping third album from Erika M. Anderson, aka EMA, drowns deceptively catchy pop melodies in shadowy, delirious vocals, damaged old-school electronics and menacing beats, unspooling ominous tales of alienation and anger. “He wanted me to blow the breathalyzer/Out on his truck cuz he was going somewhere,” she murmurs in one especially eerie interlude, elsewhere repeatedly chanting, “I wanna destroy,” to chilling effect. If Anderson’s dark vignettes—including the timely track “Aryan Nation”—seem attuned to contemporary stresses, lines like “Everyone thinks you’re worthless/When you’re down and out” connect her arresting work to the deepest traditions of the blues.

FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2020 demands.

FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2020 demands.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate