Alt Therapy – Emanuel

30 July 2021 / by Sim Dhillon
Album reviews
Emanuel Alt Therapy
Released: June 16, 2021
Label: Universal (Motown Records)
R&B / R&B/Soul
LOONY / Savannah Ré
Addiction, Hindsight, Magazines

Through his straightforward and simple lyrics, Emanuel creates his 12-song album Alt Therapy, which was released on June 16, 2021. The singer has showcased his range – he has fabricated everything from sad songs like “Thought It’d Be Easy” and “I Need A Doctor” to love declarations like “Need You” and “Magazines”, and tunes with groovy beats like “Addiction”. No matter what mood you’re in, Alt Therapy has a song to match.


Emanuel Assefa, better known as Emanuel, is of Ethiopian descent but grew up and lives in Ontario, Canada. The talent displayed in his album brought this artist to rank #2 on CJRU’s Top 30. Alt Therapy touches on various topics and feelings, from joy to sadness and from love to break-up. The artist himself said, “It represents so many things. It is healing…healing for those things in the past that would have us in bondage, in depression, in sadness. Those voices that told us we weren’t important. It’s gratification for the yearning in our hearts to do something great for the people of this world.” Alt Therapy shares a journey of self-discovery and betterment through emotional release. Emanuel works through his emotions by writing lyrics and singing, an unusual form of therapy, hence the name of the album. By sharing his own story, Emanuel gifts hope, sympathy and positivity to listeners.


The first track of the album, “Need You,” is an emotion-filled ballad – Emanuel’s voice shifts from what seems like casual talking in a conversation, to long, calming notes with beautiful crooning. In this track, Assefa sings meaningful lyrics such as “I feel I just fell in love with you like a song on the radio” which work harmoniously alongside piano and with finger-snapping. Together, they creates grace with a jazz twist. “Black Woman,” a popular track off Alt Therapy is meant to empower and appreciate the strength, resilience and beauty of all black women who fight against oppression and discrimination. Lyrics such as “I just want to be that star that you can see” convey Assefa’s admiration. The song is a form of gratitude to raise awareness of the struggles faced by the black community and Emanuel shows that this is a topic he will continue to speak on.


Alt Therapy showcases a story and a cycle surrounding love and sadness. In the beginning of the album we hear a short-lived love song, then a sad period of a breakup; later, having a crush on someone new, and lastly, being deeply in love and obsessed with a person. As the album is repeated, this cycle is repeated, making the tracks perfect for any point in a relationship from the first time meeting to the last time.