Release Date: May 6th 2022
Reviewed by: Joshua Andre
- It Gets Dark
- Burning Bridges
- Risk Of Getting Hurt
- Thank Me Later
- Last To Know
- A Driver Saved My Night
- Mistake Like You
- Bad Life (feat. Bring Me The Horizon)
- High Note
I feel like the songs are breathing maybe more sonically than on the first record. I absolutely love the first record, I’m so proud of that one. That one was leaning quite into the Scandipop thing. I think this is still…I mean, I’m Scandinavian, you’re gonna hear that I’m Norwegian no matter how much English I speak. But yeah, the guitars are allowed to flow to my vocals, I’m not singing like [mimes relentless ferocity] all the time. It’s all breathing a bit more.
I just felt like I wrote a lot of letting go in all the songs. I didn’t mean to; letting go just slipped in. And then we thought instead of fighting that concept, we were like, “Whoa, that is the concept, the whole album.” Apparently, I had stuff to let go of: Relations that weren’t that great that you had to let go of. Fears, doubts that you have, insecurities. And I think that’s something we all have. I love writing songs that are personal but where I also think, “I’m sure a lot of people are thinking about exactly the same thing.” And I love that about music. That’s why all my favorite songs that I have in my playlist, they’re all songs that were written from a deeply personal space from the artist’s point of view. But it’s written in a way that just feels super universal, like, “I feel like the second line in the second verse speaks to me!” And that’s the best feeling ever when you hook yourself onto that one line — that feels very personal, like the artist kind of just knew exactly what you were thinking. So, I’m trying to do that same thing with my songs. I want people to listen to the songs and hear one line and be like, “Wow, that’s how I feel.”
Ever since Jon and myself started writing our blog series about influential artists of all time around about 3 years ago, we’ve been slowly but surely branching out and listening to artists that we probably would never would have had it not been for the blog series. We’ve discovered newer artists and veteran singers alike; and we’ve concluded that God can and often does use any and every artist to, if not point to Him and His unending love, at least reveal something deep and meaningful about the world we live in and something of value that we can use in our everyday life for our betterment. I’m a lyrics guy mostly, and I generally gravitate to music of lyrical substance over party music that places the importance of beats as the highest thing. And so, as I was wanting to give a challenge to myself, and I wanted to review something that would stretch me musically, lyrically, thematically and in every other way; I scrolled through the Apple Music pre-orders page on the app on my phone, as well as taking a look at Wikipedia. Sigrid was a name that popped up and grabbed my attention, and since May when her second album How To Let Go released; I’ve been listening to her music. She’s one of my friend’s favourite music artists, and so I was checking out her music on his recommendation; but ultimately How To Let Go surprised me in a good way, as I’m presented with an honest album full of inspiration and an album that isn’t afraid to ask the tough questions and deal with the things that probably most CCM albums sweep underneath the rug.
There’s always gonna be pressure making a second album, for sure. I feel like that pressure’s always gonna be there — I’m sure there’s gonna be, like, “What’s she gonna do for the third album?’ I’m sure that’s gonna be there as well, so, yeah, you just try to deal with it in the best way possible. I think the album was made with a lot of love and with a lot of patience as well, because it was made for the past two years, we’ve been working on this. And a lot of it was made in Copenhagen; Norway and Denmark had, like, a travel corridor during the pandemic… and we were just in the studio every day.
Because of the situation in the world, I wasn’t able to travel. So, I didn’t have concerts that I had to do, I didn’t have to run and get on a flight. It was a very focused way of working because I had that one task to do. And it was also, like, the light in my every day of knowing that I was making this album and I was making these songs. Yeah, it really was a nice time, those weeks we had where we were in the studio every day and we could go back and forth and polish the melodies, polish the hooks and the writing. We went swimming in between vocal takes in the ocean. Yeah, it was really wonderful.
I had no idea who Sigrid was when going into this album review. Yet I feel that with this album, it shouldn’t matter, as this album stands on its own apart from who Sigrid is as a person and as an artist. In fact, every album shouldn’t be listened to via the lens of ‘this artist is great so I’m gonna listen to it’ or ‘I don’t like this artist so I’m not going to give this album a chance’. Because if you have a limited view on what album is great and what album isn’t based on your rose-coloured glasses that you’re viewing your favourite artist from… well I’d say you’re never really going to grow and find some amazing album that may change your life for the better in the future. Because you’ll always be playing it safe album-wise. Some food for thought, don’t you think? Anyway, I digress. The point is that How To Let Go is powerful, compelling, inspiring, impactful, vulnerable, emotional, personal and every other positive adjective I could think of. Sigrid is not a household name. but if we drop all of our predispositions and assumptions about her down and listen to this album with no expectations… let me say that you will be surprised in a good way and encouraged immensely as well.
Album opener “It Gets Dark” is first and is one of the singles from the album… the third from memory. Sigrid passionately and vibrantly delivers to us a message about living in the moment and actually appreciating the dark moments in her life because the dark moments make the lighter moments and the positive moments all so much brighter. A pop song to its core, “It Gets Dark” speaks about living in the tension of actually embracing the moment, regardless of whether you are feeling happy, sad or any other emotion; while it also inspires us to surrender control to God and let Him take control of all of our hardships, remoulding and reshaping them to make something beautiful from all of our messes. Sigrid reminds us that ‘…it gets dark so I can see the stars…’; and as we appreciate the present moment and the fact that we are breathing and alive, we can probably see a bigger picture of the wonder of the ‘stars’- the beautiful picture arising out of something horrible and messy.
The rest of the album presents to us the concept of learning to live in the present moment and appreciate life and all of its complexities. “Burning Bridges” is an 80’s themed dance/pop anthem that essentially is a power ballad that speaks about letting go of toxic people in your life, whether they are part of platonic or romantic relationships; while the compelling and vulnerable “Risk Of Getting Hurt” features Sigrid exemplarily and exquisitely conveying to us that if there isn’t a risk of getting hurt emotionally by something, it isn’t worth doing. Now I’m not endorsing any of us entering into abusive and toxic relationships just because there is a risk of us getting hurt; but the concept remains- we can’t sit on the sidelines of life and expect things to happen to us- we need to be active and daring and courageous and risk taking, no matter what the outcome. That’s where true courage and bravery lies, don’t you reckon? “Thank Me Later”, an emotional, vulnerable and harrowing ballad, speaks about the death of a relationship, and realising that it is the end and acknowledging that it is time to let the other person go; while the pop melody “Mirror” delves into the theme of self-love and self-appreciation, and being comfortable with all facets of yourself and loving the person who you are right now: So, ‘Mirror’ lyrically for me [is] about how you have to accept yourself. And with that, I mean like you have to accept that sometimes you are a person, you have to be strict, sometimes you have to apologise, sometimes you have to comfort others, sometimes you have to comfort yourself. Basically, just accepting your personality and the positive sides, the negative sides you have. It sounds really cheesy but [overall it’s] just being ok with being a human and living with it.
Sometimes song just hit you in the gut and overwhelm you, and “Last To Know” does that- it’s a piano ballad in which Sigrid eloquently and confidently relays to her ex that she’s in a new relationship and she’s happy- and she hopes that the ex is the last to know about the new relationship. “Dancer” speaks about the joy and happiness and confidence and inspiration Sigrid has in this new relationship- to live life to the fullest and to dance with all her might; while the relatable and relevant “A Driver Saved My Night” is one of the most encouraging and uplifting songs on the entire album. As Sigrid emphatically sings out that she felt down one day until the driver in her taxi turned the radio up to a song that she apparently liked; we are encouraged to keep uplifting and encouraging others in whatever way we feel like we can and in whatever way we want to. Because we never really know the impact we have on a person until… probably never. And so, let us spread joy, love, peace, and happiness to others; and who knows, we might have a greater impact on people and on the world at large than we think.
“Mistake Like You” is a melody that delves into the topic of unrequited love, with Sigrid telling a person that she doesn’t feel romantic love for them like they love her; however later on Sigrid concludes that she’s still glad that she has that person in her life and that her life is all the richer and more beautiful for that ‘relationship’. It’s a weird concept of wanting to be friends with the person who is in love with you that you feel nothing but friendship for; but Sigrid reminds us that some people in our lives are special in one way, and others and special in another way. “Bad Life”, a stirring and powerful rock duet with Bring Me The Horizon, speaks about depression and mental health issues, with both vocalists giving us all encouragement to hold on and to just keep going because ‘…when the world is on your shoulders, and the weight of your own heart is too much to bear, well, I know that you’re afraid things will always be this way, it’s just a bad day, not a bad life…’; while the acoustic guitar led “Grow” speaks about being vulnerable with someone and being honest and knowing that you are growing with them forward in every good way possible. How To Let Go then ends with the sobering and melancholy ballad “High Note”- a song that is probably inspired by a bucket list of sorts- as Sigrid declares that she wants to ‘go’ aka die on a high note and that in between, she wants to live life to the fullest. Similar in theme to Kylie Mingoue’s “Dancing”; Sigrid has saved the most vulnerable and honest song to last, and this ends and album full of relevant and relatable lyrical moments that we all need to talk about.
I hope that this is the type of album where my fans, or new fans, will download the whole thing and, like, listen to the album. I think it’s the type of album where you can put all of the songs in different playlists you have. Like, there’s songs that are perfect for driving or being on the bus or the train, or there’s songs that are perfect for pre-drinks with your mates. There are songs that are perfect for waking up and having the first cup of coffee in the morning. Or your last cup of tea before you go to bed. There are cooking songs, there’s dancing in your living room, there’s the song you want to put on when you’re on the dance floor and you want people to dance. I feel like there’s a song for every part of the day.
So, I just hope that it’s music that can be a part of your everyday life. Because that’s how I live with my favorite music, my favorite artists, and bands. They’re like the soundtrack to my every day, and every day feels a tiny bit more magical when you have that one song that just gives a really nice filter to your life. Do you know what I mean? Like you have the song in your headphones, and everything feels a bit more… Woo! And that’s how I hope the album will make people feel.
From death and relationships to mental health and platonic friendships, Sigrid’s new album speaks volumes and is a must for anyone to listen. It’s not an album that you will latch onto first up- because it’s musically more alternative and slower than the usual pop on the radio; however I reckon we should all give this album a try. Sigrid needs to be congratulated. I’m still not an avid fan of hers; but she will be big in the coming months and years- and it is because of this album. Well done, Sigrid, I can’t wait to hear what is next from you!
3 songs to listen to: A Driver Saved My Night, Bad Life, High Note
RIYL: Zara Larsson, Lorde, Dua Lipa, Tate McRae, Olivia Rodrigo