EMA’s New Album Captures the Sound of Looming Chaos

The third offering from singer Erika M. Anderson unspools ominous tales of alienation and anger.


Exile in the Outer Ring

City Slang

Chromatic PR

Exile in the Outer Ring is the sound of looming chaos. Recorded primarily in what she calls a “shitty apartment” in Portland, Ore., the gripping third album from Erika M. Anderson, aka EMA, drowns deceptively catchy pop melodies in shadowy, delirious vocals, damaged old-school electronics and menacing beats, unspooling ominous tales of alienation and anger. “He wanted me to blow the breathalyzer/Out on his truck cuz he was going somewhere,” she murmurs in one especially eerie interlude, elsewhere repeatedly chanting, “I wanna destroy,” to chilling effect. If Anderson’s dark vignettes—including the timely track “Aryan Nation”—seem attuned to contemporary stresses, lines like “Everyone thinks you’re worthless/When you’re down and out” connect her arresting work to the deepest traditions of the blues.


In 2014, before Donald Trump announced his run for president, we knew we had to do something different to address the fundamental challenge facing journalism: how hard-hitting reporting that can hold the powerful accountable can survive as the bottom falls out of the news business.

Being a nonprofit, we started planning The Moment for Mother Jones, a special campaign to raise $25 million for key investments to make Mother Jones the strongest watchdog it can be. Five years later, readers have stepped up and contributed an astonishing $23 million in gifts and future pledges. This is an incredible statement from the Mother Jones community in the face of huge threats—both economic and political—against the free press.

Read more about The Moment and see what we've been able to accomplish thanks to readers' incredible generosity so far, and please join them today. Your gift will be matched dollar for dollar, up to $500,000 total, during this critical moment for journalism.

We Recommend


Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.


Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.


We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.