Anyone who has followed my ramblings about Dagny over recent years will know that while I have respect for her I’ve struggled to find quite the same words of praise as some of our peers. Her debut album has been a long time coming (five years) and ultimately it is the quality of that on which you are judged in the business. Finally, it is here. ‘Strangers/Lovers’ will be released on 2nd October, the first half of it having already been released in May.
That opinion finally changed as a result of her previous single, ‘Somebody’, in which she found a memorable tune, and also as a result of her performance of it on a Norwegian television programme on 6th August, commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Hiroshima atom bomb in which she came close to stealing the show (well, the entertainment part of it).
This will be the final single before the album is released, I’m sure. It doesn’t nail a melody to quite the same degree as the previous one but it has a glossy quality a notch above what might be expected from Scandinavian electro pop.
The album is divided into two halves, tracking the progress of a relationship and this song is the first one of the half which examines the fall out that arises out of the “blossoming new love” of the first half. As such you would expect it to be downbeat but it’s rather chirpy, Dagny seemingly viewing the ‘heartbreak’ she’s going through (perhaps earlier than you’d expect on the album) as no more than a passing irritation.
She says the song is partly inspired by the film Casablanca and Humphrey Bogart's famous quote: "Here's looking at you, kid". Like the movie, she says, “the song is about knowing that you will never get someone back, but you can secretly still look at, and admire, that certain someone. At the same time it’s pretty obvious that you're not over that person yet.”
‘Somebody’ and ‘Come Over’, another single from Side A, have had a great deal of airplay in Norway. They are both better songs than this one but with ‘It’s Only a Heartbreak’ Dagny sends out a clear message that there is no filler in this album, just highly listenable pop.
I’m hoping that Dagny will have the opportunity to come over to the UK soon, and take it. She’s similar to another artist, Amanda Tenfjord, who I wasn’t convinced about until I saw her perform at Iceland Airwaves last year and she was dynamite on the evening. I’m sure Dagny can be, too. It would also be interesting to see if her legs are as long as they appear to be in the artwork. They seem to be 80% of her.
‘It's Only a Heartbreak’ was released on September 4th via her own Little Daggers Records, under an exclusive license agreement with Universal Music AS in a joint venture with Polydor DE. ‘Strangers / Lovers’ will be released on October 2nd.