Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Art of the Song: Fever Ray's 'When I grow up'

What is a great song & what makes a song GREAT....?

It's about transformation, it should tell a story, present its own unique, unmistakable & unshakable reality; it should provoke, insinuate itself under your skin & reveal "the secret ranges of the voice" as Colette writes in Vagabond

There are many layers & facets to a good song: what is a great song & what makes it GREAT?

I asked this question on FB

  • Alex said: "A great song has claws, or fingers, or tendrils that work their way inside you, grab hold, and never quite let go."

  • Benjamin said: "That is a good definition...somebody i met recently said that they felt it was a kind of abuse to use a song repeatedly to bring back an emotion."

Words, music, melody. These 3 components constitute a song. Complexities arise with the addition of the human voice which communicates manifold layers of emotion, intimacy or distance, intention, implication, urgency or nonchalance.

'Fever Ray', the voice behind The Knife, uses all the weapons at her disposal to relay various messages through her voice: angst, regret, hope, refusal. She can be accusatory and self-deprecating all in the same breath. Brilliant, beautiful, caustic, commanding.



When I grow up, I want to be a forester
Run through the moss on high heels
That’s what I’ll do, throwing out boomerang
Waiting for it to come back to me

When I grow up, I want to live near the sea
Crab claws and bottles of rum
That’s what I'll have staring at the seashell
Waiting for it to embrace me
I put my soul in what I do

Last night I drew a funny man
with dark eyes and a hanging tongue
It goes way back, I never liked a sad look
From someone who wants to be loved by you

I’m very good with plants
When my friends are away
they let me keep the soil moist
On the seventh day I rest
for a minute or two
then back on my feet and cry for you oooh oh

You've got cucumbers on your eyes
Too much time spent on nothing
waiting for a moment to arise
The face in the ceiling and arms too long
I wait for him to catch me
Waiting for you to embrace me

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