Norwegian musician, producer, and novelist Jenny Hval has shared a brand new single from her upcoming album Classic Objects. ‘Freedom’ is the perfect example of Hval’s ability to transform even the simplest musical ideas into something complex and profound. If this new offering is anything to go by, Classic Objects, out Friday, March 11th, looks set to be one of Hval’s most tender and accessible works to date.
Hval has always been incredibly nimble, traversing the line between left-field experimentation and pop songcraft with ease. Classic Objects is no exception. Blending adventurous sound pallets with harmonically-grounded chord progressions and crystal-clear choruses, the album is perhaps the closest Hval has ever come to releasing a traditional pop record.
‘Freedom’ is the perfect example of this. The single opens with a sample of what sounds like a plucked Shamisen, which Hval transforms into a rhythmic pulse underneath layers of low-slung bass and shimmering synth pads. Above this gradually evolving soundscape, Hval sings of a world on the cusp of collapse: “Out there is the world // where you’re threatening the lives // of fragile individuals when you stir in the mud. // Look to the birds, // to the crowds that have dispersed // in the wounded air that we call freedom”.
‘Freedom’ arrives alongside an accompanying music video, crafted by Hval and her long term-collaborators Annie Bielski and Jenny Berer. They previously worked on the stunning ‘Year of Love’ video.
In a recent statement, Hval offered a cryptic reading of ‘Freedom’, stating: “I don’t know what freedom is,” they began. “This song doesn’t either. The lyrics are bombastic and silly, as if written by a political folk song generator. Nonetheless the song was needed on my record – I needed something short and sweet after a series of long, layered reflections.”
Hval went on to paint a vivid picture of the songwriter-as-mouthpiece, adding: “I imagine it being sung in a courtroom or in parliament when the debate gets too heated and everyone needs a break. In this imagined moment, everyone is singing in unison. This is the only way I can describe Freedom – as a kind of performative moment that breaks up the structure, language and ambivalence of the rest of the record. On its own, it seems weirdly clear and pure. I can’t really defend it. Or perhaps it is myself I can’t defend. The song is necessary. It just reminds me of the fact that I am not.”
Make sure you check out the beautiful video for ‘Freedom’ below.