From the comedy club to the recording studio, Emma LaRue has a knack for expressing her unique experiences with wit. Originally hailing from Minnesota, LaRue found herself moving from New York City to San Diego, California. The COVID-19 pandemic inspired her to take her career in a different direction. After she released her 2021 single, “Where Do We Go,” LaRue recorded her latest album, Dark Mind, which hit the market in September 2023.
Emma LaRue Going for Another Round
LaRue released the first single, “Another Round,” on June 16th, 2023. In an interview with CanvasRebel Magazine, LaRue described this song as “the most upbeat and happy song on the album.” In fact, she did not know if she even wanted to include it in the final product. Still, she kept it because perfectly illustrates the catch-22 of youth: what feels fun and liberating in one moment can be anxiety-inducing and regretful in the next. She conveys this complexity through her smooth and sultry vocals over an upbeat guitar-driven instrumental, and it is a true stand out on the album.
Feeling Like a Stranger
My favorite moment on Dark Mind is LaRue’s song “Ghost.” This indie-pop inspired acoustic track reminds me of mid-2000s songwriting giants like Sara Bareilles and Ingrid Michaelson. Similar to the greats, the imagery in the lyrics is haunting. Her delivery of “I could have loved you if you let me” is gut-wrenching, reminiscent of Stevie Nicks’ “Silver Springs.” This is storytelling at its finest through the depth of her lyrics, the inflection of her voice, and the laid-back instrumental track. The emotion in LaRue’s voice draws the listener in as if she is whispering a heartbreaking secret. Where many artists are loud in their expression, I find this gentle vulnerability to be a great asset in LaRue’s artistic arsenal.
Courage, Vulnerability, and Art
What I found most exciting about Dark Mind was LaRue’s admission to this being a look at her authentic self. LaRue told the staff at Music Addict that most people see her as a “goofball.” However,
Dark Mind allowed her to deeply express herself. Though she still communicates her feelings with the wit of a stand-up comic, she does not need to hide behind the mask that humor can provide. It is incredibly brave of LaRue to take a creative chance on her own music, and her dedication to expressing herself this way pays off. Dark Mind is a beautiful and haunting album that highlights the conflicting realities of youth. I am excited to see LaRue continue to grow.