Elsa Åborg (Sweden) – Nico’s song (single)
Elsa Åborg is a singer-songwriter from Stockholm. She released her debut EP ‘Heart Attacks’ in 2015 then followed up with the singles ‘Too Close’ in 2016 and ‘I cave’ 2018. She either is or has been involved in several other bands, for example as the vocalist in the trio Ett Moln and is one out of seven members in the psychedelic musical collective Svarta Hålet (The Black Hole).
She’s previously played in the band High on Heels and does backing vocals in All That Is and Paloma Leal.
Plenty of experience there and it shows in ‘Nico’s song’, which was written for, and dedicated to her friend Nico. (Not that Nico, surely she isn’t old enough?!)
The song “floats in the space between a dream and being awake”, she says (or ‘between the click of the light and the start of the dream’ as Arcade Fire put it in ‘No cars go.’)
She explains that the lyrics are scattered thoughts about our fear of being alone, and the struggle of trying to make it through another day. It is quiet prescient to release such a song at a moment when so many people are doing just that – struggling – and especially here in the UK. The lyrics being in English, I wonder if some radio DJ somewhere will pick up on that.
It is a dark, brooding, haunting number, erring toward trip hop more than anything else, and I’d go so far as to say that stylistically it is almost Lynchian at times. She mentions “old jazz and grunge” as other influences, but not here.
Musically, there’s a lot of instrumentation on show and within the first 20 seconds there is what sounds like (but may not be) pedal steel guitar while another sound could be attributed to a Chamberlin or even a theremin.
Just over halfway through there’s an instrumental bridge played firstly by way of fuzzy guitar and then on a trumpet, which adds oceans of atmosphere to the song. Then, disappointingly, Elsa opts to hum the song out. That doesn’t spoil it but I would have preferred to have heard another verse before a scaled back outro.
Vocally, I thought Elsa was merely ‘ok’ the first time I heard it but on the second hearing…then the third…the fact she has real quality quickly dawned on me. The way she sings “Oh no, I can’t take it back/don’t go, I’m no good alone” has all the hallmarks of top class vocalists of previous eras and Elizabeth Fraser in particular came to mind.
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