Ásta 🇮🇸 - ‘Melabúðin’ (single)
Do you want to hear a song about pickles, written in Icelandic? Of course you do, I’m not sure why I even felt the need to ask.
It comes courtesy of Icelandic folk artist Ásta, who similarly to amiina yesterday won’t need much introduction to many, as her dark and at times devastating album Sykurbað’ in 2019 propelled the classically trained musician (again, similar to amiina ) into the spotlight, resulting in her being awarded 'Folk Album of the Year’ at the Icelandic Music Awards whilst she was also considered ‘Best New Artist’ at Iceland Airwaves the same year.
Anyway she’s clearly trying to move on musically from Sykurbað, I guess because you can only write that type of album once, and following on from what was described as a ‘fun-bop’ release, ‘Kaffi hjá Salóme’, she’s released another single – this time entitled ‘Melabúðin’.
I love the idea behind this song, as it’s simply based around the corner shop in downtown Reykjavik, close apparently to a well known local swimming pool, and renowned for late night shopping, gossip and and of course pickles (súrar gúrka).
Writing about the track Ásta says: “I wrote the song after going to Melabúðin on a cold December evening, following a trip to Vesturbæjarlaug with my dear friend Berglind. Inside, we spotted three teenage boys who were there hanging out, trying to be so cool - wearing clothes at their hips and just generally swaggering around…. we heard one of them say to the other: ‘Who do you fancy?’ ‘Who do you have a crush on?”
The lyrics are in Icelandic but the point behind them is that everyone has their vulnerabilities. And musically I like this too, it just bounds forward and the instrumentation is interesting, subtle then quirky, always shifting the song in a different direction. The ending suggests that a story is being told too, which is clearly important to Ásta.
Find her on Instagram.