Sammy the Seal

“I’ve come to let my armor down”

In vinyl, words, words, words on Saturday, 5 July, 2008 at 13:36

How I love Marit Larsen, let me count the ways.

— She’s such a natural. Though her voice has grown stronger from her M2M days, it is still very unassuming and doesn’t try to do too much or tend towards histrionics. I always liked that in M2M she was quiet and shy, like she was a little unsure to be in the vocal spotlight, and that occasionally, you could hear her voice break ever so slightly. Adorable. And yet, as a solo artist, though her voice doesn’t try to do anything it can’t, the voice (literal and metaphorical) is unmistakably hers. I admit part of the attraction is that she’s female, but she’s certainly not the supermodel, airbrushed type. She’s quite sweet, the epitome of down-to-earth. Makes me want to move to Norway to find her, before the world ends.

– Too many small, idiosyncratic vocal cadences to note, some intentional, some not. You’d really have to sit and listen to the album with me to show you. Examples: “learned a thing or two” in “Only a Fool”, “when we are apart” in “Under the Surface”. She’s so awesome, I’ll stop here and just show you sometime.

– She is incredibly honest, to a fault, even. I’ve said before that I get a very good sense of her as a person through her songs, whether her acceptance of the way things are, or her own insecurities (exhibit A: “Under the Surface”, or the title of this post). Whether wondering whether she’ll “ever be lucky or win” or her conclusion that “there’s no one for me”, or indicting her herself in the third person it’s all terribly charming. Mind you, this is tricky— usually this comes across as cloying, but I think it’s a testament to her personality that she’s not trying to evoke sympathy or melodramatics, she’s can’t help but wear her heart on her sleeve.

– Finally, and probably what is the biggest attraction for me, is her playfulness. Despite her often-candid lyrics, it is evident she loves music and is having fun making it. “Only a Fool” and “The Sinking Game” are the strongest evidence for this, not least because of that slide whistle in the former, or the shouts of “we dive!” in the latter. Or her unbridled cry of “don’t you dare leave me here!” in “Don’t Save Me”. Even in my less favorite songs (comparatively) such as “This Time Tomorrow” and “Come Closer”, the music, especially the breakdowns, is just so ebullient and enthusiastic. Even in a slower, more atmospheric song like “Recent Illusion”, she tosses in that “chk-a-ch” at the end of a couple of lines. Really, you’d have to sit down and listen to this album with me (it’s called Under the Surface, by the way 😛 )

I don’t know how to stream music, but I’ll try to get something by her up here. Try to find it, it really is worth it. Unfortunately, it’s import only— she sadly doesn’t have any stateside distribution. I bought mine off Amazon, I think that’s the only way, for now. I was initially hooked by “Only a Fool”, though I now must admit, somewhat blasphemously, that “The Sinking Game” has slightly surpassed it as my favorite. If either of these songs don’t hook you, you’re no fun. Marit is a gem.

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