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Laura Emilie (Denmark) – 2023 (single/future EP track)

Songs with years in the title are hardly new. There’s been everything from Tchaikovsky’s ‘1812 Overture’ to ‘1916’ (Motörhead) to ‘1984’ (Bowie) to ‘1999’ (Prince) and back to ‘1944’ (Jamala, a Eurovision winner of course). Without counting them I guess there are over 100.

But only once before has 2023 been the subject, in a song by Dexys Midnight Runners. Perhaps that’s not surprising when you discover how much of a shit show (her description) ‘2023’ was for her.

I won’t go into the full details but that damned 12 months “which tried to kill me” saw the loss of Laura Emilie’s family members, her dog, a miscarriage, and the serious illness of her daughter with a malady that proved initially to be undiagnosable.

You never know, do you? For the majority 2023 was a happier year of coming out of the pandemic but for Laura Emilie it just got worse, with one disastrous event piling on top of another.

So you can’t blame her for putting pen to paper to find a way of coming to terms with it, hence ‘2023’.

There is always the possibility with songs like this that a degree of morbidity sets in that is too much for the listener to bear. I’ve written before about a brilliant British musician – I won’t name him here – who devoted most of an album to a lament for his younger brother, who died suddenly and unexpectedly. It all got to be a bit too much after a while.

But to be fair to Laura she doesn’t moan or complain. Like Chumbawamba she gets knocked down but she gets back up again.

While the verses are a dark ballad the 80s-styled song perks up considerably (and melodically) during the chorus as she demonstrates, like Conchita Wurst (sorry, I’m full of Eurovision analogies tonight), that she has risen like a Phoenix out of the ashes of that annus horribilis.

I’m still standing she declares, Elton John-like, despite going 10 rounds with life, the equivalent of Mike Tyson on a bad day.

Hopefully, there will be a much happier sequel next year.

The single is the second from Laura’s forthcoming EP ‘Grab Me’, which will be released on 5th September 2024.

She says she still feels “very vulnerable” and the songs she is releasing this year will be “bluntly honest, in a way I haven’t been able to get in my lyrics before.”

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