Sammy the Seal

“Am I giving in on my own?”

In music videos, vinyl on Friday, 16 March, 2012 at 7:32

Song: Coming Home
Artist: Marit Larsen
Album: Spark

Sorry, Marit, I’m not done with you quite yet. One listen and it shouldn’t surprise to know that this is the first single off the new album. I think this beats out even “If A Song Could Get Me You” as her greatest, most unabashed pop moment. It’s all laid out. At the show, the venue had tables for dining while you watched, and I sat with two guys, strangers, who were there for Teitur and who asked me about her music, in case they wanted to explore it later. Hers was an acoustic set, so I warned them how much more full, bright, and pop it really could get. I probably should have also warned them of the girly subject matter of the lyrics. I say that only to be descriptive, she’s 28, hardly a girl. Well, a good mix of woman and girl, actually, which is what’s appealing.

This is a quintessential melding of the two, of how, among the familiar tropes of romantic lyricism, she hides great little unexpected gems of lines that are truthful and reveal a bit about her, including such standouts like the “I’m tireless” line in “Keeper Of The Keys”, “I’ve come to let my armor down” in “The Sinking Game”, or the subject line here. At first glance, it’s just like another “happy me, I’m falling in love, aww” song. However, the ubiquitous and seemingly light, innocuous phrases that begin “are you thinking/feeling/dreaming/falling….” don’t sound as carefree when followed by “it’s so bittersweet knowing alone” and “am I giving in on my own?” Being in love is all well and good, but it’d be even better if she could have some romantic equality. Everyone has to open up and submit some time. It’s all quite impressive amazing for a non-native English-speaker, you’d be hard-pressed to really tell she’s not from this country. And not only do the thoughtful lines forgive the more fuzzy ones, they justify them. If you’re going to be a cock-eyed idealist and hopeless, swooning romantic, it’s good to be realistic and self-aware too.

The sound is very familiar– the arrangements, structure, and dynamics are pretty standard pop. Start soft, hold the percussion on the first verse, wail out vocally before the bridge and/or solo, ramp up the intensity on the bridge, end by repeating the last line incomplete, then finally finishing it with vocals alone, etc., etc.– it’s all been done many times before. Except it’s just so fucking exuberant and ebullient and catchy! And Marit! I actually get excited and rock out with the bridge at 2:15, even though it’s so obvious, coming from a mile away as it does. I don’t what else I can keep saying about her voice, I’ll just single out a couple of moments then. The first is the “else” at the end of the second line of the song. She uses that effect from time to time in her other songs, and I fall for it every time. So smooth and sweet. Just like high and breathy, or low and breathy. (Sucker!) The second consists of most of the second verse, but I’m speechless specifically on the indescribable quality of her voice in the passage “that the broken dreams, hopes, hearts, promises would lead to a moment like this”– a “most magical thing”, indeed.

The video is nothing more than watching Marit and some session players performing, intercut with clips of her looking cute and girly, but damn it, she’s so sweet, she looks like she’s having fun.


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