On her sophomore effort, singer-songwriter Emily Zuzik mines the fertile soil of the breakup—from great pain, great art, right? In this case, the art is solid, but it’s the artist, strong and confident, who warrants attention. The salty “Potential” delivers on it, her musicologist’s ear serves the psychedelic “Segue” well, and a Beatles moment blossoms from “This Time Around.” Such genre-checking flows naturally as she cuts a fun-filled zigzag through r&b, blues, pop, and rock, deploying every vocal styling and nailing every inflection, growl, and coo. This range infuses You Had Me at Goodbye‘s songs with the energy of a powerful voice flexing its muscles, but it’s actually best when Zuzik softens. Plaintive and real, “Stand Up, Stand Out” is the winner here—though the song is less glam than its companions, its quiet maturity reveals a singer with real soul.
Emily Zuzik plays Pianos Thursday night, pianosnyc.com.