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Thursday, March 7, 2013

Dan's Pick of the Week: I Thought I Was An Alien by SoKo

     There are musicians who write songs about love, relationships, breakups, depression, etc. and inspire others to carry on with their scars. Then there are musicians like Soko who permanently embed their lyrics into the mind of the listener, and one cannot help but admire the beauty of it all. 
     French folk pop artist, Soko, has been at music for some time now. She originally began as an actress, but later wrote music that grew popular in Australia and throughout Europe. Prior to the album’s release, she called hiatus on her music career because she was afraid of the industry (not a surprise). She often stated that she was appalled at the sight of having to change her own music for the sake of money. She came back as a musician, however, and wrote I Thought I Was An Alien
     Obviously I Thought I Was An Alien is not for everyone, especially if you don’t want to listen to a girl sing about her past relationships for about an hour. For those who do, the album could be considered a lyrical masterpiece. Its originality can deter people at times, but the intimacy is what makes the album stand out among others. Within these songs Soko spills out her past, her fears, her hopes and of course her emotions. The music, however, will constantly change. Among the fifteen tracks, many songs will have a wide range of instrumentation, while other songs will consist of a single guitar. At times, everything will fade away leaving nothing but her voice. 
     Despite having fifteen tracks, the album doesn’t feel drawn out. The songs start around two minutes, but they eventually lengthen to four. The first track, “I Just Want To Make It New With You”, pretty much explains what the entire album is about. Soko occasionally slurs her voice like Jack White does, while the beat sounds like it came straight from the eighties. The title track is delightful and possibly the most joyful song on the album, because most of it is just depressing. 
     “We Might Be Dead By Tomorrow” is powerful and emotional. It dives into the fact that we waste too much time in relationships and “Soon enough we’ll die”. The most emotionally constraining song, however, is “For Marlon”, where Soko falls in love with an addict and sees that the lover has chosen her over drugs. Immediately following “For Marlon” is the most popular track titled, “First Love Never Die”, which is understandable due to its light feel and relatable lyrics.
     The song, “Treat Your Woman Right”, has an eerie feel to it, while “How Are You” is uplifting with its chanting chorus. “Don’t You Touch Me” is explosive, but “Destruction Of The Disgusting Ugly Hate” acts as the highest point of the album, carrying a strong driving force and a catchy refrain. “Happy Hippie Birthday” is a bittersweet tune with a beautiful buildup and an amazing ending. 
     I do have a couple problems with the album. The main issue is that some of the tracks like "No More Home, No More Love" can lack originality at times. It felt like I was listening to something that I had already listened to. The tracks were well arranged and the sounds fit in with the mood, but the main reason that I would come back to the album is for the lyrics. The other problem is that the songs, “Don’t You Touch Me” and “I’ve Been Alone Too Long” have exactly the same guitar rift and chord progression so they sound very alike in both of the first halves, causing the album to unintentionally repeat itself. 
     In conclusion, the lyrics are both unique and powerful, which alone is definitely worth giving a listen. What draws me to Soko is the way that she can beautifully portray her most conflicting experiences and have the listener experience them as well. 

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