Bold, provocative, and empowering, Emily Blue’s seductive “Microscope” is an unapologetic expression of sex and sexuality.
But you know how it goes, a light cuts out, and then suddenly you’re under a microscope…
Get ready to embrace your guilty pleasures: Chicago alt-pop starlet Emily Blue is entering a dazzling new chapter in her artistry, and she’s bringing us along for the ride. Bold, provocative, and empowering, Emily Blue’s seductive single “Microscope” is an unapologetic expression of sex and sexuality – an invitation to indulge in intimacy and pleasure, and wear our truths with pride.
I was a virgin until I was seventeen
We were in my childhood bed
I showed you some skin
You got so quiet
I was so timid
You didn’t mind it
There’s always smoke rings
Inside my head
Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering “Microscope,” taken from Emily Blue’s upcoming EP, *69 (independently out August 10, 2018). “The whole album is sort of a surreal and at times hyperbolic album about sex, sexuality, and romance,” Blue tells Atwood Magazine.
The last single before *69‘s worldwide release next week, “Microscope” (mixed by Max Perenchio of The Gold Web) and its music video come closest to capturing the artist’s vision. The music and visuals offer a stimulating message about individual sensuality and sexuality, provoking Blue’s audience to consider how they approach sex in their public and private lives.
“I feel that the visuals got really out there in terms of what we fantasize about, and how our sexual selves contrast from our everyday selves,” Blue explains.
But you know how it goes
a light cuts out
and then suddenly
you’re under a microscope
and everybody wants to see…
The little cells in your arms
Your wrist got cut
It’s all part of the wave
of an afterthought
When somebody dies
They never let you grieve
“Microscope” is the artist’s first time directing her own visuals; working on a tight budget, she collaborated with co-director Ryan Hadarah and her producer, Max Perenchio. The result is a powerfully seductive piece that illuminates our oft-hidden layer of lust and longing: “I’d say the video shows a contrast between innocence and dark fantasy,” says Blue, “that they can exist in the same person’s psychology.”
We’re all living double lives: There’s the skin we wear on the surface, and then the one we keep to ourselves – the part of us that indulges in curiosities and fantasies we wouldn’t dare admit to the world, let alone ourselves. “Microscope” finds Emily Blue blending these two realities within herself, surrendering to what we might ascribe as her “dark” side by giving it a platform to voice itself. “We come together baby can you feel it; we’re all torn up inside,” she sings in the pre-chorus, mixing poison with sweetness – quite literally: “Lunesta, sugar, kisses, and formaldehyde.”
Blue notes how this lyric, in particular, is “intended to show how our emotional baggage plays into love and sex.” We bring the past – trauma, damage, and all – with us wherever we go, but we need not dwell in our darkness; we can take “ownership of sex and fantasy,” in the artist’s words, and embrace our guilty pleasures on the surface.
I am a virgin, baby, grab ahold of me
Forget what our parents say
There is a thread that connects our bodies
I am so naked, you’ll never want me
Under the blankets, I’m just afraid
Edgy, glitchy, and progressive, “Microscope” is utterly intoxicating: A clever, creative, and colorful work of art. “But you know how it goes, so shut your mouth – it’s just like all the times that we touch ourselves, that nobody will ever see,” Blue sings toward the end of the track.
“Microscope,” and the entirety of *69 for that matter, mark a distinct evolution for the artist: “I’d like to focus on empowerment and unapologetic sensuality in this new wave of Emily Blue.”
At the tail end of “Microscope,” we see the artist standing in her nightgown. She’s brandishing a knife in one hand, and holding a gas mask in the other. Behind her, a white curtain has been violently spattered with red. In the background, we hear her sing, “How can we shock the youth of America?“
Emily Blue’s new record *69 is out August 8, 2018. Get under the “Microscope” with Emily Blue in our exclusive interview, and stream her new song and video exclusively on Atwood Magazine!
Stream: “Microscope” – Emily Blue
UNDER THE “MICROSCOPE” WITH EMILY BLUE
Atwood Magazine: What makes the “Microscope” video special for you?
Emily Blue: It’s special to me because it was the first video that I feel truly embodied *69 — the whole album is sort of a surreal and at times hyperbolic album about sex, sexuality, and romance. I feel that the visuals got really out there in terms of what we fantasize about, and how our sexual selves contrast from our everyday selves.
Also, I am truly obsessed with the makeup artists we used. Women in Chicago are powerhouse artists, and they expressed the cartoon-like nature of the character of this album so perfectly! It was also a really empowering experience having ideas in film and for film, and then seeing them actually work; I’ve recently begun directing my own visuals and this was a collaborative effort between me, my producer Max Perenchio, and my best friend, Ryan Hadarah.
When you talk about how “our sexual selves contrast from our everyday selves,” I'm drawn to ideas of sexual repression. Would you say this is a backlash to that effect?
Blue: Yes, exactly! That is totally accurate – I’d say the video shows a contrast between innocence and dark fantasy; that they can exist in the same person’s psychology. I was really inspired by FKA twigs’ “Papi Pacify,” which very empoweringly demonstrates submission and alludes to BDSM.
Your debut solo album Another Angry Woman touched on sexual abuse and healing, self-doubt, insecurity, and self-confidence. In some a sense, you could say this is the light, compared to what was indisputably a darkness - what with “Microscope” and *69 observing the beautiful side of sex and sexuality.
Blue: I love that! Or maybe even like, embracing and taking ownership of sex and fantasy. Like, coming into this new album unapologetically bold – embracing sensuality, and exploring fantasy. After talking about that ownership being taken away in the first record, it’s really powerful for me to create my own world with this music. In many ways, Emily Blue is turning into a character that allows me to be whoever I want.
That's amazing to hear! What lyrics, if any, really speak to you in this song?
Blue: “You know how it goes, a light cuts out, and then suddenly you’re under a microscope.” It’s about how when trauma happens (of any kind really), you feel like you have to be a certain way, or respond a certain way, or cope a certain way. And there’s a lot of pressure – this song is kind of like, “we are all fucked up,” and just coming to terms with that; embracing it, really. It’s a pretty violent and dark song, but that’s kind of the point of that: Everyone has their own dark fantasy! (laughs)
How did this song or this concept of honing in on sexuality come about?
Blue: Hmm, the new Emily Blue vibe and album are just like, my subconscious coming alive. Like being bold, colorful, totally out there, super weird… There’s screaming in the song! (laughs) Like, it was me exploring the extreme angle of a lot of things: Sexual fantasy, super dancey meeting super dark…. There’s a lot of talking on this record, too. I’d like to focus on empowerment and unapologetic sensuality in this new wave of Emily Blue.
Stream: “Microscope” – Emily Blue
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📸 © Ross Feighery