Stigma

EMF

Capitol, 1992

http://www.emf-theband.com

REVIEW BY: Vish Iyer

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 06/18/2019

EMF had good intentions with this follow-up to their debut Schubert Dip. Alas, good intentions did not translate into a very good album.

There was “Unbelievable,” and then there was the rest of Schubert Dip. If you invested seriously enough in this disc, you would know that not only was the rest of Schubert Dip far superior than the aforesaid track, but it was darker and harder. Stigma takes after this side of Schubert Dipmy_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 , and ratchets it up a few notches.

If some of the hardest numbers on Schubert Dip – for example, “Children” or “Long Summer Days” – could have predicted what’s to be expected on Stigma, this would have been a masterpiece! But the music just doesn’t have focus. The songs are too scattered, and you are pretty much trying to catch up with the chaos throughout.

Again, going back to Stigma’s predecessor, being “scattered” wasn’t much of an issue. Take “I Believe” for instance, which had way too many things going on. But it was still a pretty solid and catchy number. This cut, again on the harder side of Schubert Dip, was edgy and dancy. The same can be said about most of Stigma too, which however isn’t nearly as good in the songwriting department.

Stigma isn’t a bad album, and there is no track here that’s intolerable. It’s just that this disc feels like a missed opportunity. If you take the album highlights “Getting Through” and “She Bleeds,” where the band gets just about everything right, you know Stigma had some serious potential.

EMF get full marks for daring an album like Stigma, which has zero pop music promise. Knowing quite well that Stigma will not appeal to most people, this big “middle finger” to the world and to their cash cow “Unbelievable” was a ballsy move on EMF’s part. So, for a record that was destined to be unloved, Stigma is a wonderfully interesting experiment in non-conformity, and EMF deserve total respect for this. But the songs here are just not that great; and for this reason, Stigma will be forever destined as the “awkward follow-up release,” a sad fate for an album that was borne out of honorable vision.

Rating: C+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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