Around the time of the release of 2017's If Blue Could Be Happiness, Florist singer/songwriter Emily Sprague suffered a series of personal ordeals including a breakup and the unexpected death of her mother. She subsequently relocated from her home state of New York to Los Angeles. Isolated from bandmates and taking a break from Florist, she worked on music at home on her own, ultimately releasing two ambient synth instrumental albums under her own name. After Sprague was ready to return to songwriting in 2018, logistics got in the way of a band reunion, and she home-recorded Florist's third album by herself. The resulting Emily Alone is a devastating, unapologetically vulnerable set of 12 ruminative guitar and keyboard songs, one of which is entirely spoken ("Still"). A mix of fond and somber remembrances, suicidal ideation, and healing introspections, the quiet album also includes occasional appearances by sound effects or field recordings, as on the piano lament "M," which features the repeated sound of crunching footsteps. An undercurrent of barely audibly mechanical bleeps runs through "I Also Have Eyes" beneath strummed acoustic guitar and Sprague's gentle, breathy vocals. Her voice is especially plaintive on the opening lines "How did I get in this place/My life is only a combination of things that I mostly had no control over/And it took me a long time to figure that out." Elsewhere, she articulates depression on "Time Is a Dark Feeling" with lines like "These are the days like the deepest caves/You would never dare to descend into/Truthfully, silence never did it for me." Some of the songs end on a hopeful note, and the album does, too, with "Today I'll Have You Around." Its arpeggiated acoustic guitar and overlapping vocal lines are accompanied by the intermittent sound of rain, with water being a recurring theme on Emily Alone. It has one of the album's sweeter melodies, although it ends, significantly, on an unresolved chord.
AllMusic Review by Marcy Donelson