- David Bentley
Ängie (& Harrison First) – 'Eyes like a Gun' (from the album 'Not Pushing Daisies')
Scandinavia and the Nordics have their share of ‘bad girls’ and bands like everywhere else, and I reckon there are probably more of them there than there are in the UK right now, which is going through a sedate face with most songs about the environment, caring for each other and kindred topicsalong with the ubiquitous break-up songs which will be here for eternity.
But we all need to add a little spice to the daily dish of tedium from time to time which is why I’ve featured the likes of Vera Hotsauce before now, while NMR awaits the latest offering from Dolores Haze (named of course after the central character of ‘Lolita’), who have been quiet for a while.
Both are Swedish, along with Stockholm’s post-emo songstress Ängie (Angelina Dehn Gustavsson)who “felt rejected” by her friends after they learned she was gay and struggled with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and mental health disorders in her adolescence, even contemplating suicidebefore finding relief in cannabis and becoming a drug addict. Not an auspicious start.
But she cleaned herself up and was picked up by Death Team when they discovered her rapping to their indie-pop. She worked as a barmaid, nursery teacher and window fitter before her first single, which they produced, got noticed.
That single was the conservatively titled ‘Smoke Weed Eat Pussy’, and was followed by ‘Housewife Spliffin’ and ‘Spun’. The Sun newspaper in the UK, while not putting her on Page 3, declared her to be “our new favourite pop diva”, while for Pink News she was “Sweden’s answer to Miley Cyrus.”
Signing to a division of Universal, she released her debut EP ‘Suicidal Since 1995’ (the year of her birth) in April 2018, which is when I first came across her.
That first review was for ‘Here for my habits’, from that EP, and subsequently I reviewed ‘IDGAF’. I don’t think I need to translate what that means.
You’re starting to get the idea by now I’m sure and it won’t surprise you that 10 of the 15 songs on this album, released this month, are highlighted as ‘explicit’ by Spotify (that must be some kind of record) including this one, though I’m not quite sure why it is.
There are no half-measures with Ängie and little is left to the imagination. ‘Here for My Habits’ is a song about her earlier experiences with dealers, many of whom tried to hit on her, while ‘IDGAF’ is her fingered salute in response to whatever the world throws at her. The chorus is just “I don’t give af**k” repeated, times eight. On the promotional photo for the song she appeared completely naked.
And yet, there is clever word play in the verses. “Everything's surreal, kiss my scars” is priceless.
That is what endeared her to me, along with the fact that she has a strong following on social media, with global fan clubs.
She teamed up again with U.S./Swedish producer Harrison First for this album, which is a follow up to a joint EP called ‘Each Other’ which was released in June 2019.
Even though there is a song called ‘Pussy that blows your mind’ on the album perhaps Harrison First has calmed her down a little. I selected this track because it seems to have generated most interest amongst her fans online, it’s devoid of any expletives and it appears to describe a relationship forged in the murky world of the drug-addled though I may be wrong there.
‘In a laced-up bra/Wanna touch your scars/I know you’re hurt girl/That's how the world works’
‘If it's obsession or not/I like you quite a lot/ Come closer baby/Come give me heartache’
It has a pretty attractive, bass-dominated tune running through it as well. Try as I might I can’t nail the riff that forms the basis of the bridge, supporting the line “So, whatever” (repeat). Any ideas what it is?
Someone once said, commenting on a previous song of hers, “Mainstream is a bunch of bullshit to me! They are all mindless little zombie sheeple who sell themselves out for money instead of staying true to themselves.”
While she might have been off the wall then, with this track at least she edged a little closer to mainstream while not shifting too far from her authenticity and I don’t think it did her any harm.
Find her on Instagram.