Tag Archives: synthpop

Working Girl

I’ve been seeing a few random articles about Millennials and the work-life balance posted on my Facebook news feed by friends. Usually they’re scoffing at whatever the articles are about, so I imagine it’s the baby boomer generation (or possibly Generation X) shitting on my generation. I haven’t actually clicked any of the articles to find out because the term “Millennials” kind of makes me grimace – same goes for the term “90’s Kid” (even if I’ll occasionally reminisce about the things I enjoyed in my childhood – like I maybe have before). Anyway, I don’t think I need to read the articles to figure out what they’re about and what tired old lines they’ll be using. I don’t need an older generation to tell me what’s wrong with mine. I’ve got a David Bowie song for them (it’s “Changes”) and I can tell them where to put it (in their ears – where else?).

Anyway, enough of my inane rambling. The whole reason I brought up the work-life balance and Millennials is because it seems to fit with the themes of this week’s post, which will be about Little Boots’s hot-off-the-fax-machine release Working Girl! It just came out on Friday and, while I’ve been away at San Diego Comic-Con (I just got back Sunday evening), I was able to download my pre-order over my phone and have been playing it pretty much nonstop! I’ve been saying that Little Boots has just gotten better and better with each album, EP, and single she’s released, and Working Girl just proves it. This is a FANTASTIC album! My favorite so far!

Another thing I’ve been saying is that with each progressive album, EP, and single, Little Boots (aka Victoria Hekseth) has been sounding more and more like herself. The music feels true to her. Not that I know her personally, but Working Girl as a whole sounds more natural and familiar than every previous release. I thought I had read somewhere that her previous label, Atlantic, had still had a hand in the pot with her previous album Nocturnes, but I can’t remember where I read it, so take that with a grain of salt. If this is truly her first fully independent record with her own label On Repeat, then it really shows. Working Girl is full of personality and roars with an identity all its own.

The album introduces itself with a phone call and a monotone recorded message by Hesketh, which ends by challenging the listener to “make something happen.” We then dive into the title track “Working Girl,” a very modern and introspective track, but also danceable. When she strikes up the mantra “It’s so hard, it’s so hard for a working girl” I’m reminded of the Above and Beyond remix of Madonna’s “What It Feels Like For A Girl.” The whole track bears echoes of a resemblance to the Queen of Pop’s single – thought it’s clearly its own entity – down to the feminist undertones. It’s a great, great track to start on.

We follow up with “No Pressure,” another introspective track, though a sadder one too. There’s a frustration and cynicism that’s heavy in lyrics like “You make it sound so easy when you say/No pressure…Anything is possible/You just need a miracle!” Though the album has themes of corporate culture (which Hekseth has maintained across social media – and it’s been great), there’s a criticism of it as well that’s pervasive throughout the track. There’s a freedom to admitting it all though – and this track is very freeing.

If you’re feeling a little down after the first two tracks, then “Get Things Done” is there to energize you. This track makes me want to put on a pantsuit and do some aerobics. Okay, maybe not so much, but it does get me pumped. It’s so confident. It’s that Victoria in the intro telling you in a commanding yet encouraging voice to “make something happen.” It makes you want to get up. Sonically, it’s got some disco influences that are smooth and subtle, making this one easy to dance to with a familiar sound.

I’ve talked briefly about the following track before – “Taste It” – though it was mostly about the video. It’s so good though, I can’t help but associate it the sinister and uber-creepy vibe of the video. It actually manages to fit in with the theme of the album: work. I guess I just think “So close I can” before the words “taste it.” In that way, the song is kind of taunting. “Think you cannot be broken/You’re a drop in the ocean.” “Did you think that you were innocent/When you’re really not that different?”

Next up we have one of my favorite tracks on this album, “Real Girl.” I pretty much loved its synthy beats right away the first time I heard it. I read somewhere that the phrase “Manic Pixie Dream Girl” has gone out of style, but I’m going to use it here anyway and I think you’ll forgive me when you see the context. Because this song is about the rejection of being seen as the Manic Pixie Dream Girl. Hekseth sings about being tired of being treated as an untouchable goddess. “Were you hoping I’d be flawless?/Were you wishing on a movie star?” (Googling the lyrics tell me it’s “wishing I’m a movie star” but the I wrote it is the way I hear it, and I like the play on words much better.) It’s a punchy and confident track, a lot like “Get Things Done” but lighter and more fun.

Another track from her EP Business Pleasure comes next – “Heroine” – which I also talked about in that post I linked two paragraphs ago. There’s a deep house sound to this track. Much of this album falls into the house genre, but it’s most obvious here, I think. It’s a dreamy, late night track that sounds like it was made while driving fast down a dark, empty city street. It’s a good final track before the mid-album “Interlude” telling us that we are number 2,048 in the hold queue.

And then we dive into “The Game” another confidence-boosting track. One thing I noticed on this album is that it’s lacking in heartbreak and love songs – quite the contrast to her debut album Hands and even Nocturnes. (I like that a lot!) Instead, this album has a lot of themes about taking charge of your life, taking the initiative yourself, and not waiting for serendipity to stumble across your path. It’s all about counting on yourself (and putting yourself) first. Sonically, the house influences are strong here too. This one straddles the line between house and pop actually, and it works really well!

Actually “Help Too” may be the only song that dabbles in themes of love – but it’s not looking through rose-colored glasses. This is a troubled relationship that’s all take and no give…which may make it seem like a song that could have been on Hands. And that is true, but it fits just fine on Working Girl, especially in sound. It’s got a dreamy almost underwater tone to it. Appropriate for when she sings “I’m calling out your name, but my lungs are full of the ocean.” Her voice is high and clear on this track – it’s just beautiful.

We get one last track from the Business Pleasure EP – and that is “Business Pleasure.” Refer again to that earlier link where I talk about the entire EP, including this song. It’s one of my favorites. It makes me want to dance – or do aerobics again. It’s full of energy and confidence. I really like the lines “I’m not your girl in the machine” and “Lost in the city with no power, hour after hour.” Whenever I hear this song, I just want to charge through whatever I’m doing and get it done!

The penultimate track is “Paradise,” a sad and wistful track about finding the perfect place to escape and be free, while knowing you can’t stay forever. Boy, did I feel like that on the drive home from Comic-Con! “I found a place that is holy/Somewhere to feel like a child…Back to the real world/All the color’s fading.” Yeah, sounds about right. Though it’s a sad track, it’s still a good dance track. Just about every song on this album is. Just because it’s sad and a little weepy doesn’t mean this one can’t be danced to.

Finally, we end with “Better In The Morning,” which I talked about before, and as I mentioned then is still now one of my favorites! It’s a great track to end on. So upbeat and perky, especially with that keyboard-synth noise that sounds like a bird chirping. It just puts a skip in your step. I see that I was hopeful for an awesome video, and Little Boots did not disappoint! I am loving this ready-for-gifs video! Simple, bright, and colorful! It’s reminiscent of the video for “Taste It” but I’d say this one is more mischievous and playful than sinister and disturbing.

Well, those were the last tracks…unless you got the bonus tracks! The first one is “Desire.” It’s a cool little epilogue, dreamy and soaring. Even considering that, it’s still got a powerful beat and it’s still commands attention. Hekseth’s voice is great here. I feel you can really tell how wonderfully it gets along with synths. “Desire” may be just a bonus track, but it’s hardly forgettable.

The other bonus track is an acoustic version of “Working Girl.” I’m so glad she put this one on here! I always love hearing the acoustic versions of her songs because you can really hear how structured they are. The acoustic translates perfectly to the electronic and vice versa, and they both sound amazing. Electronic music really isn’t that much of a stretch away from acoustic when you get down to the bare bones.

Get this album! Little Boots just keeps getting better and better. I get so excited every time I hear she’s working on something new because I know it’s going to show off her growth and evolution as an artist and I can’t wait to hear how. Also, I’m going to see her live at the Echo here in LA tomorrow, so I’m eager to see how these songs translate to the stage. I would highly encourage you to see Little Boots live if you get a chance. She’s a master performer on stage. She always amazes me with something new. I’ll report back next week!

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Double Feature – Better in the Morning and Headphones

WELL, IT HAPPENED. Little Boots heard my plea and dropped the first single from her upcoming album Working Girl. It’s called “Better in the Morning” and here it is!

Those snippets from Instagram were indeed from her first single! And I love it just as much as I knew I would when I first heard them! This light, bouncy melody is infectious – it makes me feel over-the-moon happy. This is the song for people who need a little help getting out of bed in the morning. It certainly got me out of bed when I saw that it had dropped. As I described it elsewhere, I was so excited, I started hamboning. This is my favorite Little Boots single since “Headphones” (which I’ll get to shortly).

I’m just so excited for this album! With each album, EP, or single she releases, I love her sound more and more. This is a grand evolution of style, and I’m so happy because I think that it shows her true self (even if in all the album propaganda she plays the role of a very formal CEO character – it’s been fun though!). I’m hopeful for a fun video as well. “Taste It” was fantastic.

Now, you may have noticed the “Double Feature” up there in the title – I wanted to talk about another single that has nothing to do with this new one or the upcoming album. That would be 2012’s “Headphones.”

I thought it was appropriate to include not only because I mentioned it earlier, but also because this single gave me similar feelings of over-the-moon happiness, especially when I saw the video! It was a standalone single, so it didn’t get released with Nocturnes, even though it came out before that album but after “Shake,” which WAS included on the aforementioned album. It makes sense to me though. It doesn’t quite fit with the themes of Nocturnes.

“Headphones” is much more of a dance track than “Better in the Morning” but it’s still a bouncy and positive tune – and catchy too! Likewise, it features some…Non-lexical vocables? I looked up scatting on Wikipedia, even though that’s not what it is, but my search lead me to this. Basically, it’s when Little Boots sings “La la la la la,” while in “Better in the Morning” it’s “Do do do do do do do.” Sure, it’s a simple thing to do, but it helps carry on the mood of the song and makes it easy to sing along.

What I love about the video is how it fits in with the themes of the song – these people walk into a private booth in a shady, not sure of what they’ll see. Surprise! It’s themselves! But where the watcher is seated and dressed austerely, their counterparts are dressed in vibrant colors and outfits, dancing under flashing lights like they don’t have a care in the world. The sitter seems shocked, confused, and unsure at first, but then when they see how happy their more free-spirited selves are, they finally give in. The older woman crying just gets to me. Everything about this video makes me smile.

If you need a little cheering up, put one – or both – of these songs on and just let them do their thing! Better yet, watch the video for “Headphones” and you’ll smile for sure. Hopefully the video for “Better in the Morning” is forthcoming and just as good! I’ll do another update on the single whenever it comes!

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Hands

There have been stirrings on Little Boots’s Facebook and Instagram accounts and I’m just SO EXCITED. If you’ll notice the funny-looking phone number, that’s a toll-free UK number you can call to get a recorded message about the new album, Working Girl, which is coming out July 10. I hope these song snippets we’re getting are the first single. I just want to buy something while I wait for the new album!

Well, in the meantime, I thought I’d take a look back at one of Little Boot’s past albums, since I’ve only written about her latest EP, Business PleasureLittle Boots is one of my favorite artists, so it’s shocking that that’s all I’ve done!

Hands was Little Boots’s first album, released in 2009. I think I discovered her back when I was listening to last.fm regularly at work. Anyway, I loved her music right away! That was one album that didn’t take me long to buy. It was good fun electropop, catchy and danceable. Looking back on it now, though, there’s really only a handful of standout songs. She’s gone on to make much better music in her so far short career.

I can’t remember what my first song was…So let’s just start with the first track of the album, as usual! That would be “New in Town,” one of my favorite songs on this album (and a favorite Little Boots song in general) not just because it’s fun and catchy and danceable (as previously mentioned) but also because it’s about LA! Little Boots wrote this song as an anthem to this city, where she lived for a time when she was part of an indie band called Dead Disco. And both times that I’ve seen her play live, this one is a crowd pleaser!

I love that the music video doesn’t feature typical LA landmarks, like the Walk of Fame, the Hollywood sign, the TCL Chinese Theatre (formerly Grauman’s) – in fact, there’s not even a single shot of palm trees or beaches! And yet it was all filmed in LA. Fantastic!

“Earthquake” is your standard stuck-in-a-relationship-gone-sour ditty. It’s not a remarkable song for me. The video has some nice visuals.

After that we’ve got one of the great stand-outs on this album, “Stuck On Repeat,” although I MUCH prefer the version she recorded on her 2008 EP Arecibo. It’s twice as long but somehow I feel like it’s simpler and better paced. It’s so hypnotic, which is perfect for this song. That’s exactly the feeling it’s supposed to evoke. Actually, this one might have been the first Little Boots song I heard, now that I think of it. The EP version is the version I remember hearing on last.fm. Anyway, if you get this album and like this song, get the Arecibo version too!

“Click” is another relationship-gone-sour song! This album has quite a few of them, now that I think of it. Funny, since synthpop is kind of a happy-go-lucky sound. I like “Click” better than “Earthquake” though. The chorus has a good beat.

“Remedy” is by far one of Little Boots’s most popular songs. I think it’s her highest charting single. It’s a wonderful, catchy song! It’s definitely one of my favorites – and another crowd pleaser, considering it’s about dancing. The music video visuals are awesome. She had a kaleidoscope theme going on with this album, as made very clear here. It also features her weapons of choice – the keyboard and the Tenori-on, which is the square thing that looks like that Lights Out game from the 90’s. I haven’t yet got to see her use it live! The first time, it wasn’t working so she left it out of the show. The second time, the show was slightly more…acoustic? Anyway, she didn’t have it then either. One day!

“Meddle” is another stand-out, though it doesn’t get as much attention. I distinctly remember her playing this one the second time I saw her and it was AMAZING because it was a sort of rock version. She had a drummer and an electric guitarist on stage with her. It was a brilliant rendition. I need to see if I can find a rock version of it somewhere – anywhere! Anyway, the album version is just fine too! Dig that Tenori-on.

“Ghost” – another bad relationship – yadda yadda – I’m not crazy about this one either! Sorry!

“Mathematics” is kind of fun. She goes though some of PEMDAS and some other math terms. I can hear a math nerd somewhere trying to work out the song in their head like an equation and just coming up with “That’s not how math works!” Anyway, it’s catchy and easy to sing along to.

“Symmetry” is a good one too! Not the best, but good! It’s a bit of a duet with Philip Oakey of The Human League – I don’t know who that is but I have a feeling someone out there will be mad at me for it. His voice fits nice with the melody though! I can feel the early 80’s new wave traveling across the decades to meet with the late oughties synthpop.

Next up we’ve got “Tune Into My Heart.” It’s sweet and I like it, but I don’t have much to say about it! Honestly, this one felt like it could have been the ending track. But there’s a reason it wasn’t, which we’ll get to later.

I like “Hearts Collide” too! The dark, almost seductive sound is very nice. There’s something sirenic about it. It feels like she’s drawing you in. It’s a nice change, and I think maybe an indicator of some of her later sounds.

“No Brakes” is just okay. I generally fast forward through it to get to the hidden track, “Hands,” a pleasant little acoustic track. It’s just Little Boots and a piano, something I really enjoy. I have a handful of songs like that, including a cover of Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill.” It’s pretty cool when you can hear how her complex electropop songs are born on a good old-fashioned piano.

There are some extra songs on various “bonus track” versions of this album (gosh, I hate it when they do that) that include “Catch 22” (a great one!), “Love Kills” (a fantastic Freddie Mercury cover), an acoustic version of “Stuck On Repeat” (beautiful), a Tenori-on Piano version of Meddle (fun!), and various remixes.

Overall, it’s difficult to rank Little Boots’s various albums, EPs, and promotional singles, but I would say that, while I still enjoy Hands from time to time, it’s my least favorite of the lot. As I go from her oldest work to her most recent work, I can her more of her unique personality shining through. She sounds more like herself as time goes on, more natural. I brought this up before, but I’m certain I read somewhere that her record label at the time, Atlantic, was trying to make her into the next Kylie Minogue, and it just didn’t work for her. She had to break out and do her own thing for awhile. That explains the four year gap between albums – Nocturnes came out in 2013. Meanwhile, the Business Pleasure EP came out about a year and a half later, while Working Girl is due out less than a year after that. That’s not even including the various EPs and promotional singles I mentioned earlier. And I haven’t even mentioned her mixtapes (have I mentioned she’s a DJ?).

I’m so glad Little Boots decided to make her own record label and do her own thing. Her work just gets better and better. I just couldn’t get enough of Business Pleasure when it came out, and I’m really looking forward to Working Girl! She’s got a great future ahead, and I can’t wait to see what’s next!

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shadowshow

One thing I want to mention before I get to the actual main part of this week’s post: In last week’s post, I had “I Saw Her Standing There” on my top 5 Beatles “underdog” song list – It should have been “Fixing a Hole”! Because that one is definitely in my top 5 and I think just edges out the former. I thought of it as I was taking a shower after the post had gone live. Too late! Oh, well.

So on to the main post: The final chapter of BLUE, “shadowshow”! Apparently, this song has been floating around since the days of kin being played in concert. But I resisted the urge to listen to cell phone recordings of it until it was released on the album itself! So proud of myself.

Right off the bat I’ll say that, visually, it reminds me a lot of the final chapter of kin, which was “goods.” Which is to say it was mostly shot with minimal lighting and smoke/fog effects. And, you know, it’s the final chapter. At the same time, there’s a lot more going on here in “shadowshow” – and it’s not just that there are a LOT more shots. The broken mirror from last week is featured here. The ever-present shadow figures are, well, present. Though most of what we see of them is…their shadows! At least in the first half of the video.

Now that Jonna is done with BLUE, it seems she’s ready to return to land, while, in the second half of the video, she sends her shadow fans into the waters from whence she herself came, pied piper style. They’ve switched places. Now it’s time for the fans to immerse themselves in this completed project, while iam contemplates their next move. Or something. This is iamamiwhoami, who can say!?

As an aside, how awesome is that disco ball-inspired outfit?? I like it, anyway!

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the last dancer

Another day, another iamamiwhoami track! Oh yeeeeah! And this one’s a real downer. Oh nooooooo.

One of the awesome things iam has done for members of the Island is that they finally released the lyrics from their entire discography. Which is only 3 albums, but it’s still a sweet, sweet treat because previous lyrics were just fans’ best guesses. Anyway, reading through the lyrics for “the last dancer” is a real downer, as I mentioned before. It starts with “the life has gone from this room/there is no future for me.” The chorus includes the line “what a beautiful day to die.” Of course, I don’t think she means a literal death. I’m certain it’s some sort of artistic death (and maybe rebirth?).

The music perfectly reflects the melancholy. There’s a tone of resignation in the lyrics and the sound. It’s sad, but you can sense Jonna has accepted her fate. She’s not going to fight it. This may be the calmest track on this album. It draws you in to the sadness. I can’t help but feel a little light-headed when she sings “what a beautiful day to die.” That’s super strange, I know, haha. But it’s just the way she sings it.

The scenery is reminiscent of what we saw in “fountain”. I think those might be some of the same shots – Well, not exactly, but they’re some of the same scenes. The shadow figures watch from the trees, but they do not approach. Some even turn away from her. The lighting is pretty dim throughout the video. I’m sure this waning light has something to do with the themes of death and resignation in the song. I can’t figure out the chair and the mirror though. These images were present in the map of the Island, specifically where this track was located. So I knew they were coming, but I don’t quite get the meaning. Still, they feel so powerful. iam has that effect on mundane, ordinary objects. I mean, just look at Jonna rocking that saran-wrap dress!

This was a puzzling video, but I have a feeling it’s meant to be the transition for the final track “shadowshow,” which I can tell you EVERYONE (meaning every iam fan, that is) is looking forward to. How will it all end? You’ll just have to stay tuned!

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ripple

Okay, so I’m finally getting around to reviewing the latest track from iamamiwhoami to be released to the general public (as in anyone who is not part of the Island or who just hasn’t bought the album yet) – “ripple.” Wow! This is the most danceable track! I feel like I say that every few track releases, but I really mean it on this one. It’s got a definite beat to it – well, in parts. It has a moment of relatively sweet calmness a little over halfway into the track. But it’s danceable otherwise.

It’s been pretty well established through various interviews and fan chatter that the black-clad figures are the fans – which makes sense now considering they are all behaving differently. Every fan reacts to and interacts with iam differently. Sometimes they’re demanding, sometimes patient, sometimes confused, and in this case, sometimes just enthralled. They dance to the music – sometimes synchronized, sometimes freestyle. Because everyone has their own unique way of enjoying iam, as they do with any other artist or style of music! (Okay, I have to admit I laughed at some of the sillier dances.)

Another thing that’s been established is that the ocean (or any images of water) represent the digital world that is the environment in which iam exists. (I still think it’s a Scandinavian thing though. Just a little bit.) It kind of makes sense because the ocean is the source of life, and for iam fans, iam music is life! And so they celebrate and embrace it. It took a little coaxing to get there for some, but they’ve learned to adapt. (I still bought a limited edition physical copy of the CD though. Limited edition! Book with pretty pictures! Thank you card! How could I not? That last one was a surprise though.)

Too many parenthetical sentences in that last paragraph. Did it even exist? Anyway, this music video is pretty straightforward, I think. Jonna watches her fans proudly and even rallies them on with claps. Suddenly the whole boat metaphor makes sense too. This whole project has been chronicling her travels! Maybe around the world? I’m now doubting if this signals a tour that will include the US. Though that doesn’t mean they WON’T be coming to the US! I hope they still will. Soon.

Well, I guess that’s enough of my yammering. I’ve got a half hour plus interview to watch (!) and a 58 page thesis to read (!!!). Goodness.

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thin and chasing kites

It’s been a busy couple of weeks for iamamiwhoami! It’s less than a month till the new album BLUE comes out, and I was wondering how they were going to release the rest of their videos by then. Question answered: They released the next 2 tracks together! My guess is they’ll release 2 more the week before the album drops and then the last one maybe the day before or day of.

A few days later, we got an interview in Dazed & Confused magazine! What a treat! I feel like’s it’s been a good while since we’ve had a decent interview. In this one, she gives a lot of love (and credit) to her fans for helping her make this album happen. This, I think, is the future of music. I’ve seen it happening more and more lately. Oh Land, another Scandinavian singer (Danish, specifically!) is making her album through a pledge page too. It’s very exciting to feel so close to an artist. They really are making the music for you. I want to see more mainstream artists doing this!

Anyway, let’s get on to the videos/singles! First up is “thin.”

Gosh, I love this one. It reminds me a lot of “fountain,” which I also really like, in that this one sounds a lot like it belongs in an 80’s fantasy movie. I just LOVE the change of pace in the song just past halfway through. It just swallows you up. It’s like being held down by an anchor in the middle of a waterspout. It’s frightening and beautiful at the same time.

I think Jonna Lee’s relationship with her fans has gotten a little complicated here. If that is who the shadowy black figures represent. I saw someone else suggest that maybe they represented her past? I’m not 100% sure about that. I can relate to the figures a little if they’re fans though. They’re getting messages in bottles from her, but the put their hands on their hips and scratch their heads in confusion at their meanings. Yes, yes, that I can relate to, haha. I suppose they figure they’re not going to get any meaning from the words because the end up burning or tossing away the papers. As I’ve said about iam before, I think their music is meant to be interpreted by everyone differently. It means something special for every individual, and no one is right and no one is wrong. That’s why they burn the papers but keep the bottles. The images of the shadowy figures holding up the empty bottles against the dusky sky gives me the shivers a little.

Next up is “chasing kites.”

We open to shots of a typewriter, dozens of sheets of paper (with what looks like her lyrics printed on them), and glass bottles. So that’s where they’ve been coming from! Jonna inhabits a lighthouse on a small island, all by herself. The shadowy figures are nowhere to be seen (except in a few fleeting flashbacks to other videos). She starts by singing “It’s a thin, thin line and I walk both sides of it.” What a great transition from the previous song! I can’t wait to hear the album as a whole. If anything, this is where she addresses her past. It feels like it’s representing her leaving her home (past) and casting her sails to the wind (future), even though she’s torn between the desire to stay and the decision to leave. This whole album, I think, is representing her journey from being this vague and mysterious project to a full-fledged “band” that’s captured the attention of, well, maybe not the world, but certainly a lot of people. She’s torn between enjoying the shroud of secrecy and wanting to share her work with everyone. (Refer back to the interview where she indicates her trepidation at becoming a “mainstream” artist while later stating that she doesn’t want to keep her artistry all to herself “in the closet.”)

It’s a really fascinating new look into iamamiwhoami’s psyche, especially Jonna’s. I’m certain she must be an introvert, because I’m familiar with that feeling of wanting to be alone, but not lonely. It’s this sort of Jekyll and Hyde tug of war in your head sometimes. Wow, this song really hits me when I think about it.

I’m so excited for this album! And they’ve finally announced the release of a physical album! I’ve already bought the digital version, but I just HAVE to have this CD, even if it doesn’t come with a DVD. Less than a month away now. Soon, soon, soon!

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