This is the first time I’ve reviewed Norwegian singer-songwriter Emilie Nicolas though in my own defence she always seems to lie a little under the radar here compared to some of her equally popular peers back home.
This is her new single 'Who's Gonna Love You,’ the first new music to be heard since her acclaimed 2018 album ‘Tranquille Emile’, and also the first cut to be lifted from her (untitled) third album, due for release in May this year.
The song concerns the difficulties of letting go of a relationship and contains a few explicit passages such as "Are you OK without me? / Say you'll be fine without me / Oh you gonna f**k up as much as you do, with or without me. I can't let go / Let me let go." Sounds like she’s more concerned about the other person than she is about herself.
Billed generically as ‘R&B electro-pop’ the particular beat here is a fascinating one, lying somewhere between R&B, hip-hop and those distinctly African jazz rhythms Manu Katché used to lay down, for example in his work with Peter Gabriel in the 1990s.
Emilie’s said she wanted to write a song anyone can move and dance to and she certainly succeeded there. Even I can. In fact that beat is what draws you back to the song, rather than the lyrics, which are fine but not exactly in the ‘American Pie’ class and which contain the odd example of what I call Norwegish, where something has been lost in translation, such as “Text me the address, hoping I come get you within far”. Qué?
And there’s a wonderful moment where she appears to sing “Who's gonna love you if fado” (…if I don’t).
I recall Terry Wogan once on Radio 2 playing a song by Sia before she became famous, I think it was ‘Soon we’ll be found’, and raving about her musicianship but regretting not being able to understand a word she was singing. Emilie doesn’t plumb those depths by any means but perhaps she doesn’t need to accentuate the vocal as much as she does. Ok, most female R&B singers these days do – I call it the Banks effect - it but it isn’t written in stone.
There will be more experimentation on the third album where by all accounts she will unite elements of pop, R&B, electronica and jazz and to capture despair, unbridled joy, and the desire to dance.
Emilie has been awarded two Norwegian Grammy's, for "Pop Artist of the Year" and "Album of the Year".
She can be found on Facebook.