Erin McCarley calls the music on her debut album, Love, Save the Empty, a document of her search for authenticity in herself and in others. If that sounds heavy, there’s a reason why: According to McCarley, “Loving You” is about “being honest at the beginning of a new relationship and saying, ‘I have nothing left to give,’ to this amazing person standing right in front of me.” “Sleepwalking” profiles a cynic that can’t hear it come back his own way. For the title track, McCarley was inspired to write a song about the effects stemming from a lack of role models in a parentless world. And yet the 11 songs collected here (songs that ignited an industry-wide frenzy when McCarley performed them at SXSW earlier this year) pull off the trick that all great pop performs: They do heavy philosophical lifting with a lightness that boosts the spirit. This is elegantly crafted, deeply melodic music that resounds with echoes of the Beatles and Aimee Mann, Alanis Morissette and Amy Winehouse.
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