We’ve run most of the singles released from Marte Eberson’s forthcoming second solo album, and the eerily-titled ‘Blood on my fingers’ is the latest of them. It sounds like an Agatha Christie murder mystery, or an episode of Columbo.
There’s often been something a little dark about Marte’s writing, be it on her previous album ‘Mad Boy’, six years ago, or in her work with the band Löv, which she openly admits to.
The very title ‘Blood on my fingers’ is earthy, ethereal, suggestive and grave enough but this isn’t quite ‘Delilah’ exacting revenge on Tom Jones.
(For those who don’t know ‘Delilah’ it dates from 1967 and is the subject of much debate in the UK right now after the Welsh Rugby Board stopped choirs singing in at matches as the lyrics “glorify violence towards women”. In it, Tom murders his girlfriend after he sees her making love to another man through a window. The next morning he confronts her. “She stood there laughing/I felt the knife in my hand and she laughed no more.”
Just so you know. The 60s were a dark period.
Anyway, to return to the matter in hand, if you’ll pardon the pun, Marte says, “I have created a song and a sound image that will describe the surreal state that comes when you get desperate. Where you lose your footing and contact with reality, and jealousy and pain take over the whole body”.
She continues, “I am trying to describe the worst thing one can experience; grief over lost love. The violent one, the pain that grows inside you when you discover that the one you want would rather be together with another. You have dug and dug to find the heart, and then wanted to hide it safely with you, so that you may last forever. But the heart is already gone, given away to another. “Blood on my fingers, but no damage done. Your heart was already gone”.
Then, “A genuine romantic scene, felt just like a dream, hurt so much I had to scream.”
Phew! So ‘Blood on my fingers” is metaphorical, rather than literal. It refers to the digging to find nothing left where the heart should be except residual blood; not a satanic ceremony.
Even so, the imagery is powerful. I’m not sure here whether Marte has written a pure piece of musical fiction, is recounting someone else’s story, or is writing and singing from her own heart; having been the grievously injured person herself.
But If I were a betting man I’d lay odds that it’s the latter scenario.
One thing she’s really smart at doing is dressing up the pain, in the manner of ‘putting on a brave face’, and she does that by way of a light, almost carefree touch retained through the pop-like keys and floaty arrangement. You might even be able to discern elements of soul and jazz in it.
Apparently Marte is inspired by David Lynch, who as we know excels at creating something that can evoke both the painful and beautiful at the same time.
In that respect she notes that there are two sides to the song. One being the enormous pain and recognition of loss andthe other “being witness to the most beautiful and romantic thing you’ve ever seen.”
And I think you’ll agree Marte has exposed this dichotomy in the lyrics, melody and ethereal atmosphere.
The PR says “Marte Eberson releases new, dreamy indie pop.” I wouldn’t say it’s ‘dreamy’ except perhaps in the vocal; in fact ‘nightmare-y’ in a pleasantly Gothic way would possibly be more apt considering the title and the mood generated in those opening bars, which might be those of a ‘Ghost Train’ at a funfair!
It’s not really ‘indie pop’ either in my view. I’d go deeper than that because that classification typically embraces much lighter components than are found here.
Having said that, I’m not at all sure how to classify it. ‘Delilah’ was identified as a ‘murder ballad’ (there were such things in the 1960s) but no-one and nothing actually gets murdered here – except for Marte’s own heart.
Perhaps we should assign it an entirely new genre, Marte pop.
What has struck me already about the album tracks she’s released is that no two sound the same. While this one is billed as “one direction that will be representative of the upcoming album” I think that may apply more to subject matter than stylisation and that there is still greater variety and imagination probably yet to come from her on this album.
The single is produced by Marte Eberson and Jonas Kroon. Kroon also mixed and mastered the single at his Saga Studio in Oslo.
‘Blood on my fingers’ is released on 17th February on the Grappa label. I suppose Valentine’s Day might have been a symbolically suitable day but labels usually do Fridays. Or perhaps not?
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