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“Burns Like Whiskey” by Emilee Rose

Exposing your heart and soul to the audience, whether you’ve got the four walls of the studio between you or not, is a very intense experience, but the grace with which Emilee Rose approaches this task in her new single “Burns Like Whiskey” is something that immediately caught my attention when sitting down with the song just recently. “Burns Like Whiskey” has a smoother melodic underpinning than you might be expecting given the angst-ridden connotations of the song’s title, but in terms of the emotional punch this single is packing, there’s no debating whether or not Rose was swinging for the fences here. 


The lead vocal gets a lot of love from this mix, but why shouldn’t it? Rose has a voice that we already know to be very powerful when it doesn’t have to compete for the lion’s share of the spotlight in an arrangement, and this is an instance where there isn’t anything strong enough to get in its way. She could have gone a little bigger with the beat, but the decision to keep things relatively straightforward as the hook grows stronger was probably the right one if she wants to keep as many pop fans as she does Nashville devotees. 

Even though there isn’t much of a bass presence in this mix, the bottom of the track feels foundational to the verses and doesn’t leave our singer without any footing when the climax recoils and brings us back to the steady flow of the song as we first hear it in the opening bars. In all honesty, I think this is one of the more efficient performances of its kind to land on record store shelves in 2022 or 2023 mostly because Rose wasn’t trying to complicate things with an orchestral-style feel to this arrangement. She knows what her priorities are here, and it shows on multiple levels. 

I will say that this tempo suits the style Emilee Rose has been developing in the last three years quite well, and I don’t know that she could have gone with a pastoral look had she not spent as much time as she has experimenting with what her limits are and, more importantly, how she can capitalize on components of her sound that others aren’t working with. I was taken aback by her honest tone beside this beat, and there’s never an instance where it feels like she’s dragging along a verse or its adjoining melody. 


To anyone who hasn’t been listening to Emilee Rose as of late, this is the right time and the perfect single to get you turned onto her sound. 2023 is going to be a year of experimentation not unlike the last couple of entries in this decade’s increasingly strange and wild history, but if you’re looking for an artist who has it together and knows what her plan is moving forward, Rose is a singer/songwriter who needs to be getting all of your love and attention – starting with her new single “Burns Like Whiskey.” 

Mindy McCall



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