WORTH A LOOK?: ****1/2
TRACKLIST: Come Over; Somebody; Paris; Let Me Cry; Coulda Woulda Shoulda; Tension; Moment; Please Look At Me; Bad At Love (Interlude); It’s Only A Heartbreak; Bye Bye Baby; Coast To Coast;
Norwegian Dagny came to our attention in 2020 when Katy Perry interpolated her song Love You Like That into her own comeback single Never Really Over.
- Read on for reasons including how Strangers/Lovers reminds of Prince, Robyn and Sigrid
That comeback single was by far the best thing on Perry’s lacklustre 6th album and real-name Dagny Norvoll Sandvik instead last year released a debut album that boldly omitted Love You Like That but instead boasted its own narrative of falling in love, settling down, breaking up and moving on.
The first two songs, Come Over and Somebody, capture the initial rollercoaster rush of attraction. Come Over starts: ‘I keep going back to when I laid eyes on you, ‘Cause ever since then you’ve been on my mind, You gave me that look and suddenly I felt new, Now I’m watching my phone late into the night.’ Later it offers: ‘Baby when I think about you I come alive’ and ‘I’m picturing you when the light hits your face in the morning.’
In Somebody (listen below) we have: ‘I never had this rush in my body, I never thought I’d feel something new’ and from a female perspective it works better than the more predictable male route.
Paris reminds of Prince in that it is almost spoken over a relaxed, gorgeous, undulating melody as Dagny notes: ‘We don’t need Paris, We don’t need nobody, Naked under my beret, We could eat croissants in bed.’
Pivotal song is Tension: ‘I know how you like your coffee, And how to make you want me’ yet ‘You should know my favourite part of the movie is when you still don’t know the end but you feel like diving in’ and ‘Strangers into lovers then before you know it we’re comfortable but what then?’ … We can lie here and just not say it forever.’
Sigrid is from Ålesund in the west whereas Dagny is from Tromsø in northern Norway which doesn’t see daylight for three months a year and it’s this understanding of darkness which serves the album’s second and better half well.
Please Look At Me feels almost Flamenco-inspired with 1 of the central couple appearing to be more keen than the other.
Bad At Love (Interlude) is stripped right back to piano and vocal and is the more affecting for it: ‘Don’t know why it doesn’t feel the same as before, Back-to-back instead of face-to-face but I want more, We don’t even touch when we’re alone at night’ and a final realisation that ‘Cause it’s too late to fix what we’ve broken’.
Highlight is the penultimate Bye Bye Baby which is an uptempo banger on a par with With Every Heartbeat which Robyn would do well to release right now about determination to move on which offers: ‘Now I just wanna leave you behind’ on repeat.
Dagny is the daughter of a vocalist and jazz musician who moved to the UK in 2012 to find success but it didn’t happen for her. She’s already been the subject of a fine in-depth BBC piece and we can see the stars align for her in 2021 when gigs return and her potential is sure to shine brightest despite her dark origins.