Nordic Music Central Viking Hero

Rikke Normann (Norway) – Spare Key (single)

Anyone following this publication will know by now that I have a lot of time for Rikke Normann.

When we ran the rule over her EP ‘The art of being home alone’ back in August, a collection of previously released songs in acoustic format, it was evident that she has a voice that carries a dreamy cinematic quality.

Lo and behold she’s done it again on this song, ‘Spare Key.’ Hard on the heels of Josefin Winther’s ‘Walking Home’ from a couple of nights ago it also sounds like it belongs in a Disney movie.

There’s a Christmassy-flavour to this one and it is set “long before the first snow.” But it isn’t quite what it seems as she sings “little did I know you were done with me”. The line appears to relate to a relative, possibly a parent, someone who effectively abandoned her at a young age; for what reason precisely we know not, but it doesn’t matter anyway.

Just as Santa Claus doesn’t turn up for many kids, Rikke was left living in hope. “No-one should spend Christmas like you left me last year” she cries, observing that “no-one should have to wonder where your loved ones are at.”

Essentially the character is what we in the UK would call a ‘latchkey kid’, one who returns to an empty home after school or a child who is often left at home alone. The spare key of the title is the only catalyst to any form of normality and, more importantly, certainty.

It echoes the sentiments of ‘Elephant’, a track on Marianne Sveen’s album ‘Next of Kin’ which deals with those who have been let down as children by their closest family.

I don’t know how the Norwegians manage to nail their emotions through songs like this in a way that seems to be beyond many British artists. It is yet another song (as I mentioned a few weeks back with Katastrof/Sol Heilo’s ‘Holde rundt deg’) which should be played on national charity TV shows like the annual Children in Need event.

And along the way she manages to channel the style of artists like Regina Spektor, Holly Palmer and Sia, whilst always owning her songs absolutely.

Musically, it’s simple piano and acoustic guitar; that’s all that is needed and then to cap it all there’s a little progression of piano notes that are a perfect replica of Choir of Young Believers’ ‘Hollow Talk’, the opening theme to The Bridge.

I’m in heaven.

Another great song from an excellent artist.

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