City To City
I wish the first seven seconds of this song would continue into infinity. My feet tap, my head spins. I saw Firefox AK live supporting Junior Boys, and found her to be beguiling. Live, the electro-pop backing tracks and the hammering's of the drum machine are overwhelming; overpowering. I couldn't even begin to construct thoughts in my head because every time coherent fragments were formed, they were silenced by the sheer volume of the electronics. Thoughts would hover, just out of reach; then disintegrate. Perhaps this was the best way. A smile appeared on my face, and it stayed. On record the laptop-handiwork isn't quite as overwhelming or glorious, but it's still there, and often it's very impressive.
The majority of the album is concerned with shamelessly resurrecting 90's electro-pop, taking pride in its grinning femininity. However, the final track on the album brings the male vocal of her husband into the equation and softens the approach. Each and every piece of instrumentation is subtle, yet effective. This is quiet, and contemplative. The dynamics are just right. Shhhh, quiet, then slightly more emphatic... but still hushed. The lyrics as a whole I don't understand, but I relate to the line: "Keep the attack short and fast". It means let the pain sting, then wash over me. Don't make this fight last longer than it has be. I give up the war. I give up. [Buy]
Annika Norlin, aka Hello Saferide, only deals in honesty; it's all she knows. She is charming, quirky and curious. The questions asked within this song range from the silly yet sweet: "Can you at all times wear socks 'cause I'm still scared of feet?", to the serious and pivotal: "If I fall would you pick me up?" She asks the every-day questions we all want to know ("Do you still keep pictures from girlfriends? Are they prettier than me?"), yet are often too scared to ask. The honest answers to these questions may not be the pleasing ones, but it's important to ask; it's important to know, because we/she needs "proof or a beer to open this heart". The truth is important.
A song for sunny days/winter nights. The heart-warming lyrics are hidden behind a wall of happy pop music; behind quirky instrumentation and an ever-smiling voice. Annika has a talent for constructing sentences that contain dazzling yet simple, true-to-life imagery: "40 flavours on the floor and a half-drunk bottle with popcorn in it / Yesterday's dress in a complete mess and a bruise on my arm / I don't know where I got it".
For the most part the lyrics are alluring, sensitive and sweet, but sometimes her heart is laid bare in its misery. Revolving around her thoughts on a New Year ("it's gonna be another shitty year"), and her unrequited love ("I haven't told you yet, but I'm gonna be with you"), it's easy to forget that amidst the waves of dazzling pop instrumentation, and aesthetically pleasing vocal melodies, the lyrics within this song are an effort to translate genuine sadness into words. Perhaps the cleverest, and most emotive lyric amidst it all is this: "I will learn a new word each day; Today's word is 'dejected'". [Buy]
Both artists are on the Swedish label Razzia Records. The name "Firefox AK" was derived from an inscription on a fire-extinguisher, and not from the web-browser that we all know and love. The photo which opens this post was taken by myself at the aforementioned Junior Boys performance; see more here.