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Johanna Brun (Sweden) – Prophecy (single/future album track)

As Johanna Brun works towards the release of her debut album this is the second single from it and one that represents almost a 10-year gap from the previous one that has been released, ‘Bird’, which was written from the perspective of a young teenager grappling with the taxing issues that most teenagers face, together with some that they don’t.

‘Prophecy’ like its predecessor was conceived during a very challenging time in her life. While the details are sketchy it seems to refer to losing both your grip and your way forward when normality is exposed for the ephemeral state that it often is and the rug is pulled violently from under your feet.

Losing contact with someone or something that is dear to you comes at a cost as you try to come to terms with it, but only succeed in raising more questions than there are answers.

The song originally opened with a disarmingly simple piano introduction, one that sounded slightly out of kilter, with additional notes inserted that were mildly suggestive of imbalance, like a hidden disability.

But in its final persona that imbalance is even more evident from the eerie, doom-laden synth-generated noises that one might associate with the latest chapter of Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street or Halloween and the sort of spine chilling choral strata that might come from angels or fallen ones.

It’s all highly atmospheric.

Disbelief occupies the first verse as to how Joanna arrived at her predicament (“how did I end up here”), and as in ‘Bird’ she contemplates simply fleeing the scene, one which she regards as being the end result of a damning prophecy.

But as the chorus unfolds she finds the strength, the fire within her, to ‘overturn’ it while acknowledging that those dear to her may yet have to accept that, like Elvis, one day she might leave the building, the “end game.”

Don’t forget me when I’m gone, she pleads in a smart transition between chorus and verse, “Please remember me.”

The most poignant line is the last one – “make it go away”, the prospect of that desire being achieved damned by the final elongated note that suggests unrelenting permanence.

That is merely my initial interpretation of the lyrics; I might change my mind next time around and you will have yours. That is the mark of a great songwriter, one who can put ideas in your head but not stick them down implacably with a tube of Loctite. And keep you guessing.

She is a philosopher who also has the gift of writing and performing songs.

Musically, it is not always easy to pin down a memorable melody or series of them in a slow ballad but Johanna manages to do just that while vocally she continues to develop a considerable degree of intensity, all the more so from a slight frame, and the sort that is best applied sparingly, which is exactly what she does.

There is no bridge as such, which you could decipher as signifying that she believes she has burned hers. Or would that interpretation be a bridge too far? You see, I’m being sucked into the Johanna Brun mindset…

I could end this reaction with a cheesy remark, making my own prophecy about Johanna Brun’s future as a musician but I’ve already done that on numerous occasions before now.

Let’s just say that some prophecies are destined to come true. Hers is one. I just know it.

Music & Lyrics: Johanna Brun & Joakim Paasonen.

‘Prophecy’ is out on 1st March 2024 via the Comedia label.

It seems there is a possibility Johanna Brun might play some dates in the UK this year. If we find out more we will of course let you know.

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