Emotions and Math is not simply the name of Margaret Glaspy’s new debut album. That expression drills right to the heart of the New York-based singer-songwriter’s proper introduction, a mission statement both artistic and personal.
On its surface, the title track talks about being a touring musician and figuring out how to see your partner, looking at the calendar and calculating how you’re going to spend time together. But Emotions and Math, which ATO Records will release on June 17, also sums up an epiphany she had while making the record. “In a lot of ways, it’s kind of how I operate,” says Glaspy. “I’ve always considered myself a free spirit, someone who goes with the flow, but actually I’m not exactly like that. This record really taught me that I’m super analytical and process-driven. I think they really do go together, emotions and math. Nobody is just one thing.”
As introductions go, these 12 songs waste no time in cutting close to the bone. This is a young artist with something to say, one who has found her voice, as both singer and songwriter, after years venturing down a crooked path. After cutting her teeth in New York and Boston, where she was a touring musician and played in other people’s bands, Emotions and Math signals an assured new direction.
Glaspy, who’s 27 and grew up in Red Bluff, California, self-produced the album, which frames her revealing ruminations in shards of jagged guitar rock. Building on its early buzz — Rolling Stone hailed first single “You and I” for its “hot barbs of electric guitar,” and BrooklynVegan declared it a “stomping rocker with a DGAF attitude” — Glaspy prepares for a big year in 2016.
“A lot of the songs are so specific but also feel like they apply to so much of my life,” says Glaspy. “I realize more and more on a daily basis that if you’re given a microphone to share what you have to say, then I hope to God that I don’t encourage some fantasy of what we’re supposed to be or how we should live our lives.”