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Astrid Cordes (Denmark) – Stop dreaming (single/track from forthcoming album)

Astrid Cordes is quite candid about why she wrote ‘Stop dreaming’. To paraphrase her missive she says it’s “about wanting to give up.” But hang on, this is no suicide note, Praise the Lord.

Rather she wants to “give up on my dream” simply because she hasn’t achieved it. While she’s content, the insecurities of “not being good enough” weigh on her and sometimes “show their ugly face.” They make her feel like she’s no good and stupid for even thinking she ever could be.

And so, she decided to write a song about it, to “keep me company” when she’s down in the dumps.

I’ve a few observations. Firstly, this of course is nothing unusual. Shakespeare wrote soliloquies like this. Hamlet alone is full of them. “To be or not to be? Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing end them…”

For your next song put that to music Astrid…

And of course the standard of the musical output varies wildly, from UK Eurovision entry Mae Muller’s ‘I wrote a song’ at one end of the scale, to the 14 minute epic that is ‘The Poet & the Pendulum’ in which Nightwish’s Tuomas Holpainen begs forgiveness for sacking singer, front woman and founder member Tarja Turunen, in a song in which he ‘kills’ himself as a means to self flagellation.

There’s nothing quite so dramatic here I’m glad to say.

Allow me for a moment to play the role of a priest and the confessional. Before I ego te absolve-ed her I’d point out, as I can be quite brutal, that she needs to scale down her expectations. But not because she might not realise them, rather that she already has.

I’m in the unfortunate position where I’m having to delete emails and other forms of communication five to 10 times a night because of the sheer volume of releases right now; many of them quite excellent.

But not this one.

First off, Astrid can sing. Her dreamy vocal sucks you in straight away. The melody is a memorable one not only for the actual hook but because someone, perhaps Astrid, perhaps her producer, has cleverly inserted an underlying riff that could have been borrowed from Arcade Fire’s ‘Sprawl II – Mountains beyond mountains’, which, let us not forget, is a track on a Grammy Album of the Year.

It really shouldn’t work, mixing a pop ballad with indie rock but it does just that and it gets better still as it develops into a full blown anthem in the last 30 seconds, to a symphony of synthesisers and random guitar chords.

By the end it’s a tour de force that might better be titled ‘Start dreaming.’

The only question I have is why I haven’t encountered Astrid Cordes before now. And I’m sure there will be DJs over here, even at the BBC, who will be asking the same one.

‘Stop Dreaming’ is out on Wednesday May 17th as the lead single from Astrid Cordes’ forthcoming new album on Celebration Records, ’Hurry Up and Kiss Me While the Baby’s Still Asleep’, which sounds like something from a middle aged Angel Olsen with a Fiona Apple title, but which is an amalgam of three EPs dealing with the experience of becoming a mother for the first time.

Oh, and to top it all her promo photo, with the sun shining in her hair, makes her look like Peter Gabriel in the ‘Foxtrot’ era when he shaved off the middle section. Heaven.

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