Friday, October 24, 2008

more modern short stories from hello saferide by hello saferide

The bad news...Annika Norlin's (a.k.a. Hello Saferide) sugar-filled debut album Introducing Hello Saferide still doesn't have a proper American release. The good news? Not only is her sophomore release, More Modern Stories from Hello Saferide, for sale at iTunes, Razzia Records has got it at a discounted rate! Yea for international thinking!

More Modern Stores finds Hello Saferide playing the role of the confused twenty-something - torn somewhere between figuratively reentering the womb (pretty much every song), and literally moving back into her parents' house ("Parenting Never Ends"), a longing for security every twenty-something can identify with. (That sound you just heard was my parents re-keying their locks.) When literally looking forward to the trappings of adulthood, like having children of her own in the heartbreaking tale of loss "Anna," the reasons seem to be solely to recapture elements of her own spoiled youth, like making sure her daughter...never has to know what it's like when your heart breaks. Even in supposedly adult flights of fantasy, like the Bonnie and Clyde tale "Middleclass," the protagonists end up tent-bound, flashlights under their chins. This, for all practical purposes, should be the sophomore slump. Instead, we get the quarter-life slump, which makes for strong, honest album fodder, if a bit scattered and segmented. Truth be told, I could be a lot harder on this album if it didn't feel like it fell out of my own brain.

Maybe this feeling of overt familiarity is the reason I've never wanted to like Hello Saferide. Musically, she's a bit cloying, at times a bit Dashboard Confessional, other times a one woman Lilith Fair. (Which, for the record, my seventeen-year-old self loved! Goodbye cred.) Maybe it's a tribute to the triumph of cynicism over preferred musicality. (For my favorite Hello Saferide sounds, see the folky "I Wonder Who Is Like This One" and her breakthough twee-pop anthem "High School Stalker.") It's just, she gets me. I've never been the heartbreaker, I've just had my heartbroken. I've never been the prom queen (shocked?)1, just the weird kid in the audio visual club. Even at her most grating - quirky-for-quirky-sake "Sancho Panza" - that undeniable element of sincerity shines though. These aren't just songs, these - in the tradition of Bob Dylan, who's name-checked twice on the album - are stories. Stories for the modern outcast. I can dig it.

1.For the record, I turned down a date to the prom, instead opting to go to a costumed bowling party. For source credit on the next Hello Saferide album I can be contacted via wouldbehipster@gmail.com

mp3: "Anna" by Hello Saferide

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