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Nils Bloch (Denmark) – What are the words to this song (single/track from forthcoming album)

I hope Nils Bloch doesn’t take offence if I compare him to American soft rock-popster Dean Friedman, who was popular in the UK in the late 1970s and early 1980s (remember ‘Lydia’ and ‘Lucky Stars’? –the sentiments of the latter being quite similar to Nils’ new song) and whom I just discovered is still writing and performing.

Nils even looks like a cross between Dean and the Labour leader here, Starmer. I see that elsewhere he’s been compared to Anohni (previously Antony of Antony & the Johnsons. But I reckon Dean would have sung him under the table.

I never thought I’d hear a controlled falsetto quite like Dean’s again, but here it is. In 2024 any attempt to sing a ballad like this invites allegations that it’s old fashioned but frankly I don’t care; I’ll take it any day.

What’s more, things have a way of coming around. I just saw a discussion on the BBC asking why country music has suddenly become so popular outside of the Nashville community (and it has been doing just that, long before Beyoncé’s homage to it on ‘Cowboy Carter’).

Ditto the variety of meaningful yet sentimental ballad that Nils sings here, ‘What are the words to this song’. I see no reason why it shouldn’t make a comeback. It only needs some or other ‘influencer’ to champion it.

In the song “someone awakes next to their sleeping lover. Lately they have been drifting out of reach, hiding behind silence. So what happened?”

He goes on to say “the single is about confronting yourself through the eyes of a person you love – with all the vulnerability that entails.” I assume that means reading their intentions through their expression when they refuse to communicate and adjusting your response accordingly. Hence the title.

He’s very clever at allying very simple piano notes which emphasise the benefits of clarity of purpose with the ambience of heavenly synthesisers and a slightly distorted vocal backing.

I wish I had the lyrics. There’s a marvelous sounding line that goes something like “I used to care about so many things/but now the lie that’s leaking from your eyes/it seems to hollow out your words.”

That’s top class songwriting. Dean would have been proud.

Nils’ second album comes out in July.

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