Big Big World


Universal Records, 1998

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


As impartial as I'm supposed to be, often I'm not immediately won over by some discs when I first pull them out of the mailing envelopes and look through the press information. Sometimes, however, my instincts are proven to be wrong once I do give the album a fair shot in the CD player or tape deck.

In the case of Emilia, I normally wouldn't have been excited at the prospect of reviewing another dance-mix diva wannabe. However, on her debut album Big Big World, this 20-year-old Swedish native proves there's some meat behind those chops - though there is also signs of too much of a good thing.

Right from the outset of this album, the energy that Emilia puts into this project is infectious. Her vocals are powerful without being overbearing, as the opening track "A Good Sign" proves. A solid beat (even though a lot of it is synthesized), matched with some well-placed Vocoder lyrics is evidence enough that Emilia has a reasonable shot at stardom. The one thing I didn't like - and it's something that plagues most of the album - is that the track seems to end suddenly. Just when the listener is really getting into the groove, wham! - the track is over. (Talk about leaving 'em wanting more...)my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Emilia's talent shines through on many tracks on Big Big World, such as "Twist Of Fate," "What About Me?", "Come Into My Life" and "Daddys Girl". While a lot of the material may seem to be somewhat fluffish, Emilia seems to sense this, and keeps a light atmosphere to the songs - almost as if she wants you to remember the beats and harmonies more. This is a plus on some tracks such as "Like Chocolate" - what the hell's this supposed to be a metaphor for? (Like cho... uh, like it's subject matter, though, this track also is catchy, despite itself.)

Emilia's ambition, however, gets to be a little too big on occasion. The title track takes forever to build into anything, and even after the beat kicks in, it really doesn't go anywhere. (The remix of the track at the end of the album doesn't do anything for it - hell, it makes me long for the sleepiness of the first version.) And while I can admire her tip of the hat to the Supremes on "Maybe Baby," I take the feeling away from this song that she wanted to accomplish too much too soon. (In this instance, the swing version of the song that closes out the album is a major improvement.)

So do the Spice Girls have anything to fear in Emilia? To be honest, yes; if she's given the right breaks, her version of danceable pop could be the first big thing we're talking about in 1999 - and that's not a terrible thing to occur, to be honest. Big Big World has quite a bit of promise to it, but Emilia needs to not want to conquer the tallest mountain on her first outing. Even so, she's built a pretty strong foundation to work with.

Rating: B

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© 1998 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Universal Records, and is used for informational purposes only.