Fuck it, I’m gonna say it: this new Emma Ruth Rundle B-side has a lot of staying power.
A slow-burning and haunted yet grounded track full of swelling dynamics, cold stillness, and eerie singer-songwriter folklore, ‘Staying Power‘ may have been a B-side to Emma Ruth Rundle’s 2018 LP, ‘On Dark Horses,’ but it’s grabbed my attention more than anything off of said record. (Which isn’t to say that that LP was or is bad, quite the contrary, actually.) ‘Staying Power‘ is an arrangement that slowly builds and allows each instrumental element to come into its gloomy light, like a brewing storm on the horizon that’s about soon to pass overhead with lively percussion, swelling drones, striking guitars, and ethereal vocal layers. Emma’s own voice and her songwriting style here rages up a musical hurricane of sorts. Moving through brash anger, delicacy and power, and quiet clam alike over it’s touching four-minutes.
‘Staying Power‘ is decidedly blunt in what it has to say. While it’s unclear why it never made the final cut of her last album, it’s release timing now is bitterly ironic though also no doubt intentional. As it’s a meta-commentary on the hard and uncertain touring life of a full-time musician and the extremely tricky situation of being an artist whose business is to basically sell feelings and emotions; how you balance that artistry and that work with pragmatism and life. That isn’t to say that Emma has all of the answers or is some authority on it – I think she’d agree with that herself – but it’s a track about endurance brought to life by her own experiences as an increasingly popular musician over the last few years; going from Red Sparrows and Marriages to her lauded solo work of the now.
As selfish as it sounds, out of all the many artists digging back into their treasure troves of unreleased material amidst the global pandemic to offer new content in the lack of live shows, Emma’s newly released B-side is one of my favourites.