Hannah Georgas plays an entrancing game of tug-of-war with her emotions on her fourth album.
On Hannah Georgas’ fourth album All That Emotion, her songs are distilled. Made in collaboration with producer Aaron Dessner (The National), these songs progress because of quiet motions: glittering guitar flourishes, cyclical piano melodies, and shuddering percussion. The murkiness of 2016’s For Evelyn — built by Joseph Shabason’s sax, pulsating beats, and heavy synths — is dissolved and so too is the pop-rock energy of her 2010 debut This Is Good. All That Emotion sounds calm and collected. It’s a record to curl up on the couch with. It’s a record to be enjoyed in the spaces that you deem safe and cozy.
But just because All That Emotion sounds relaxed doesn’t mean that Georgas’ worries are entirely kept at bay. Across All That Emotion, Georgas deals with a myriad of emotions and they often feel overwhelmingly heavy. She keeps her feelings close to her chest one moment but lets them go free the next. It’s an entrancing game of tug-of-war. “I’ve been afraid to tell you everything going on in my head because I still feel like I’ve been treading. I still feel like I’m a kid,” she sings on “Pray It Away,” tip-toeing in between the trickling piano melody. Two tracks later, on “Same Mistake,” she is more forthright and reveals, “I have a hard time going back, I’ll admit it. I carry a lot of it after the fact.”
While Georgas struggles under the weight of her emotions for much of All That Emotion she also tightly holds onto hope and urges herself to keep going. On “Change,” which flickers like sunlight on a perpetually moving river, she is able to buck much of the taxing load she has been carrying around and in an act of self-love sings, “love is change.” It’s a miraculous and encouraging moment.