Over the past 15 years, the acclaimed Norwegian-born, Stockholm-based singer/songwriter Ane Brun has released 12 albums of gorgeous and cinematic folk and art pop through her own label Balloon Ranger Recordings, including her sophomore album 2005’s A Temporary Dive, which led to a Norwegian Grammy Award win for Best Female Artist; 2008’s critically applauded Changing of the Seasons, which was praised by The New York Times; 2015’s When I’m Free, which NPR’s All Things Considered called “best record yet . . . her most sonically ambitious . . .;” and 2017’s Leave Me Breathless, a collection of covers and reinterpretations of hits by Radiohead, Joni Mitchell, Nick Cave, Bob Dylan, and others.
Brun’s forthcoming (and still untitled) full-length album is slated for a fall release through her own label. Earlier this month, I wrote about the hauntingly gorgeous and cinematic album single “Trust.” Centered around an atmospheric arrangement of strummed acoustic guitar, shimmering synths and Brun’s expressive and plaintive vocals. “It’s a song about letting go of all doubt and just letting yourself fall into the hands of fate, and trust that it’s all going to be alright,” Brun explained in press notes. “It was first written as a romantic song, but as we’re in this state of uncertainty around the planet, I feel it has gained more meaning.”
The still untitled album’s latest single “Feeling Like I Wanna Cry” is an ethereal and hazy pop song featuring atmospheric synths, stuttering jazz-like percussion, twinkling keys, a throbbing bass line, brief blasts of orchestral strings and Brun’s achingly tender vocals expressing heartbreaking sorrow and despair. Although the song was written some time ago, it manages to be centered around an uncannily prescient awareness of the dire and uncertain times we’re facing right now — while suggesting that now is the time for us to be better and do better.
“I wrote this song last year, after feeling for a long time that we as humans have been on the wrong track. I had been following the many reports of how we’re slowly tearing down biodiversity and disrupting our environment, and a sense of sorrow weighed heavily on my chest, sometimes bringing a lump to my throat,” the acclaimed Norwegian-born, Swedish-based singer says in press notes. “At the same time I’d been looking for a desperate sign of hope that if we might really come together, we might stop this from happening, that we can change our course.
After what has happened in 2020, it’s hard to say that we can’t. One of the things this pandemic has shown us is that we can act, and we are willing to make rapid structural changes to improve our conditions for survival on this planet. Now we just have to realize that the climate emergency is a similar threat to our existence, even though it is a slow moving process. We have to accept that this crisis is also something that needs to be dealt with immediately, just like a pandemic. And as most people around the world are isolating, have stopped travelling, and taken a break from polluting cities and oceans, we see so clearly that all other life on Planet Earth goes on without us. And that nature is probably better off if we stayed still for a long time.
I once had a dream where someone had come up with a solution to the climate emergency. The new discovery was that we could stop the Earth from rotating for one whole minute and then restart it again. It would be like a reboot of the whole system, and we would get a second chance of making everything alright again. Let’s hope that this involuntary shutdown has an impact on our future choices.”
The recently released video for “Feeling Like I Wanna Cry” was directed and shot by Martin Bergström, a multi-disciplinary artist and designer, who moves freely across fashion, design and art as part of one larger creative endeavor and specializes in a bold, abstract and organic style — and Thomas Klementsson, a director and photographer, whose work straddles the border between fashion and art. The video is hazy and surreal while centered around cycles of life and death.
“When Martin told me a year ago about an idea for a video he wanted to create, I immediately thought about this song, which at the time was only a demo,” Brun recalls. “I didn’t tell him then, but when the recordings were done we met up again and together we realised that his and Tomas’s visual concept was the perfect fit.”