“The saddest girl in Sweden,” as Gothenburg alt-pop artist Sarah Klang is jocularly known, is back with a new single, ‘Canyon’, released on 23rd October. It’s the first single taken from her third album, which will come in 2021.
I had to laugh at the press release for this, which came with the oxymoronic comment, “…she returns with an inspiring new break-up single.” That pretty much sums up Sarah, the glummest girl in the village perhaps, but one with a mischievous, ‘Gremlin’-like twist.
But man, what a voice.
Such is the suspicious nature of our society that I am sometimes prompted to think a voice as pure as hers must be auto tuned, but then I very much doubt that’s the case here; it simply transcends such meddling.
Sarah Klang makes vintage pop, with Americana and country influences but also with a Scandi-pop charm. It’s the sort of brew which an artist could choke on but it seems merely to tickle her larynx.
The song concerns her celebrating freedom from the emotional shackles of a past relationship. She says, “There were quite a lot of people writing me after my two latest album telling stories about being heartbroken and listening to my music, feeling sad. They wondered ‘when do I let go of this feeling, when does it end’? In those particular cases I could never know, of course, but I wanted to put down in a lyric how I felt one morning when I woke up and suddenly time had passed, and I felt free. It’s about getting your own self back.”
What I don’t quite get is if the lyric does suggest she is ‘free’, unless the song marks the progress of that freedom. The first verse goes:
“Travelling through this highway light/I see your face when I close my eyes/Thinking about you usedto make me smile/Now I’m just travelling to get by.” That suggests she’s actually struggling to get free. And that’s repeated in the second-last verse
Then in the last one:
“Wake up and my mind is a desert / And my heart is a canyon / You can’t keep a bad girl down / Wake up and it’s finally over / And my heart is a canyon / You can’t keep a bad girl down.”
To my mind, a desert-like mind suggests an empty, rather than focused, one although the heart/canyon analogy is certainly one of freedom. But then what are we to make of “Can’t keep a bad girl down”? Is she admitting guilt for the break-up? There is more than meets the eye, here.
The extensive tattoos and general raunchiness of the video suggest there’s plenty beyond the sweet voice and ‘butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth’ image.
An intriguing artist.
Sarah Klang’s debut album ‘Love In The Milky Way’ (2018) topped the charts and won the ‘Best Album’ award at the Swedish Grammys, with Klang’s second album ‘Creamy Blue’ (2019) once again nominated at the Grammys in the ‘Best Album’ and ‘Best Alternative Pop’ categories, as well as receiving a nomination for ‘European Album of the Year’ at the IMPALA Award. She’s also had sell out dates across Scandinavia and mainland Europe, and played big arena shows as support to First Aid Kit.
‘Canyon’ was released as a digital single today on Pangur Records. Sarah Klang plans to release her third album and tour the UK in 2021.