Album Review: Emile Haynie | We Fall

by BUST Magazine


Put every collaborating musician from super producer Emile Haynie’s We Fall into one room, and it would be music’s version of 2015’s “SNL 40” special. At first glance, the list of guest appearances in the Saturday Night Live special seemed ridiculous, hyperbolic. However, while there were some brief moments of brilliance, the immense pool of talent was ultimately diluted into a flavorless mess. Much like “SNL 40,” We Fall features too many voices, leaving Emile Haynie’s debut album lacking a cohesive narrative.


That’s not to say that individual songs from We Fall don’t succeed. Album opener “Falling Apart,” featuring Miike Snow’s Andrew Wyatt and the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson, is a near-perfect orchestral pop song. “Wait for Life,” an outtake from the Ultraviolence sessions with Haynie, ranks as one the better songs in Lana Del Rey’s back catalogue. Even Haynie’s two solo tracks, his first productions featuring his own voice, hold up well amongst the immense talent from the rest of the album, though album closer “The Other Side” comes off as a more melodic version of Spiritualized’s 1997 classic, “Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space.”



The problem is that the vast majority of the tracks on We Fall are constructed as singles. Too often, they sound like Haynie producing songs for each artist’s respective project, rather than for his We Fall endeavor. “Fool Me Too” featuring Nate Ruess would fit almost too well onto fun.’s Some Nights, and serves as an extreme outlier to the cinematic sound of We Fall as a whole. Likewise, Randy Newman’s offering, “Who to Blame” is the best song Newman has released in ages, but it simply has no business being sandwiched between Romy (of the xx) and Lykke Li’s “Come Find Me” and “Ballerina’s Reprise” featuring Father John Misty and Julia Holter. Randy Newman’s jaunty and playful track breaks up the album to the point where it’s almost laughable, like an ill-timed funny commercial break during an intense movie on TV.


Furthermore, whereas Lana Del Rey’s “Wait for Life” serves as one of the best songs of her career, “Ballerina’s Reprise” unfortunately might be the weakest one of Father John Misty’s. Hot off the heels of I Love You Honeybear, which I believe will go down as one of the best albums of the decade, Father John Misty’s “Ballerina’s Reprise” pales in comparison. Against Honeybear’s outstandingly witty and sardonic lyrics, “I wrote a song where we act like adults/Oh well, it’s never changed/Let’s keep on keepin’ on” lacks subtlety. While it’s probably unfair to compare We Fall with Honeybear, it’s equally hard not to, as the albums were released only two weeks apart.


But does any album of this nature need to flow as a complete narrative? It’s not like any Mark Ronson or late-era Santana album ever did. Records like Version or Supernatural don’t have the central heartbreak narrative that We Fall does, and therefore, it’s much easier to separate individual songs like “Valerie” or “Smooth” than it is for almost any track fromHaynie’s debut. Pop albums are rarely meant to be listened to as a whole, but records like We Fall, even with the high number of famous collaborators, demand to be taken more seriously.


Full of strings and beautiful production, We Fall is definitely a solid listen, with several flashes of brilliance like “Falling Apart.” However, the puzzling inclusions of Nate Ruess and Randy Newman’s collaborations drag the album down as a whole, serving as more of a distraction from We Fall’s overall flow than as meaningful contributions to the album’s central narrative. —STEVEN EDELSTONE


We Fall is available now on Interscope Records! You can purchase it through iTunes here.




Image via Interscope Records

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Founded in 1993, BUST is the inclusive feminist lifestyle trailblazer offering a unique mix of humor, female-focused entertainment, uncensored personal stories, and candid reporting that tells the truth about women’s lives.

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