Song of the Week: EMA – “Breathalyzer”


“Breathalyzer” is the sound of a bad drug trip. It’s distorted, hazy, off-kilter and sets off a creepy, uncomfortable feeling in the pit of your stomach.

Only an artist like EMA could make you want to listen such a dark, messed-up song over and over again. The slow burn of modular synths builds into a screeching glare. All the while, her vocals are barely controlled, sounding desperate, hoarse and freaked-out.

As EMA said, “The story in ‘Breathalyzer’ is about kids getting fucked up in the back of a midlevel sedan and driving through suburban landscapes. I especially wanted to present a non-moralizing view of a woman deciding to take drugs. ” These sinister atmospherics have prevaded her songs from the beginning of her career. But “Breathalyzer” dives deeper into the darkness, fueling a paranoid, tense, irresistible soundscape.

EMA’s third album, Exile In The Outer Ring, will drop on August 25 via City Slang Records.