Since seeing Emmy Rossum on Shameless, it’s hard to imagine her as anyone else than the foul-mouthed, rough-around-the-edges character she plays on the show, Fiona Gallagher. However, Rossum had a career before Shameless- one that was centred around classical music and adaptations of Broadway musicals.
Obviously, in order to play the lead role in Phantom of the Opera (back in 2004), Rossum had to have considerable singing ability, which she showcased in the film and soundtrack. Not too long after the movie, she released her debut album, Inside Out, which focused less on Rossum’s classically trained voice, and more on the ambient backing music; the album sounded less like the classical album everyone expected her to release and more like an Imogen Heap album.
Finally, in 2013, and six years after her debut, Rossum released her second album, “Sentimental Journey.” Sentimental Journey is a cover album, which features songs from the 1920s up the 60’s. I’m usually not a fan of covers, as I really don’t think they’re necessary unless the artist can do something to make the song better (or different) than the original, but Rossum does a beautiful job on the album.
Though I don’t really like the Vaudeville-feeling of “I’m Looking Over A Four Leaf Clover”, Rossum’s voice is really the highlight of the song, particularly as she hits an impressive high note towards the end. Meanwhile, Rossum covers a blues standard and a Willie Nelson song with “Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out” and “Pretty Paper”, respectively. Though you wouldn’t imagine Rossum would do well with either genres, she covers them flawlessly and with the confidence of a seasoned musician. Title track, “Sentimental Journey” has a lovely melody, but the real focus is Rossum’s gorgeous 1920’s-esque vocals.
In fact, the best songs are the ones that focus on Rossum’s beautiful voice. Ballad, “These Foolish Things (Remind Me Of You)” is a classy affair, in which Rossum sings like an old pro and puts on her best Natalie Cole impression. “Autumn Leaves (Les Feuilles Mortes)” is the best ballad on the album; the understated piano-based melody goes perfectly with Rossum’s warm vocals and she sounds exquisite, especially while singing the French lyrics in the song.
She might be known for playing a character that would never listen to an album like this, but that doesn’t matter- Emmy Rossum’s “Sentimental Journey” is a near-perfect cover album. Rossum’s voice is perfect for these old-fashioned standards and her vocals, paired with the stellar production makes for an album that instantly transports the listener back to the time these songs were originally made.
1. Sentimental Journey
2. The Object of My Affection
3. I’m Looking Over a Four Leaf Clover
4. These Foolish Things (Remind Me of You)
5. I’ll Be with You in Apple Blossom Time
6. Summer Wind
7. Many Tears Ago
8. All I Do Is Dream of You
9. Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out
10. Autumn Leaves [Les Feuilles Mortes]
12. Pretty Paper
13. Keep Young and Beautiful