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Emily Wells’ Crisis-Driven ‘Regards to the End’

On February 28, 2022
Photo by Res

Every week, we tell you about an album we think you need to spend time with. This week’s album is Emily Wells’ latest studio album, Regards to the End.

Emily Wells’ music has a way of being cathartic and expressive in ways that words alone cannot accurately convey. On her Bandcamp page for the release of her previous album, 2019’s 

This World Is Too _____ For You, she shared, “These songs are about the human being interacting with the natural world. They wish to embrace as much as they wish to critique.” Three years later, that theme weighs heavily on her newest album, even more applicable now than it was then. 

Regards to the End is an exploration of human experiences to their extremities. It's both an ode to and an exasperated glance at the state of the world. In it, Wells tackles topics surrounding the AIDS crisis, climate change and her own experiences as a queer artist. 

Haunting layers of drawn-out strings fall into place as the notes of Regards to the End’s opening song pave the way for Wells’ voice. It’s a smooth, seamless progression, and her vocals linger in the air like a mist rising after a storm. The song sonically sets the landscape for the remainder of the album. Regards to the End thrives through its organic qualities, saturated with strings, wind, brass instruments (even tapping Wells’ father for french horn contributions) and piano — it’s all the more befitting for Wells to stand out in her vocal performance.

Notably, the album is filled with references to people and artists who were impacted by the AIDS crisis, particularly in the tracks “Come On Kiki,” “David’s Got a Problem” and “Arnie and Bill to the Rescue.” The accompaniment throughout the tracks slowly pans out like a movie score, and the narratives told through each are stirring. 

On Wells’ website, writer Cassie Packard chronicles the album’s influences and specifically calls out the story of “Arnie and Bill to the Rescue,” who were “partners in art and love who cofounded a legendary avant-garde dance company in 1983.” Wells sings the gutting lyrics, “Later on, I made her cry again, when I told of the night that Arnie died and / The ambulance wouldn't touch him.” 

Regards to the End is made up of provoking stories told through the lens of an artist who’s acutely in tune with human experiences. Like the artists and activists she memorializes, Wells herself creates art that speaks to the masses and extends heart-felt pleas for better. 

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Jillian Nguyen

Jillian's origin story began with jam sessions to early 2000s Eurodance tunes, resulting in her current self-proclamations as an EDM aficionado. Jillian has followed her favorite artists to over 15 music festivals and countless concerts.

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