After premiering her video for “Birds” yesterday, Anouk released her new album today. “Sad Singalong Songs” is a collection of ten tracks that go beyond the “love ballad” stamp that you would expect from such a title.
Apart from “Birds”, Anouk released three more videos – which she calls short films, and they truly are: “Kill”, “The Good Life” and “Pretending As Always”. They are all marginally related to one another and Anouk features as a secondary character in all of them. My personal favourite is “Kill”, both as a song and as a video:
The album, recorded entirely with an orchestra, is, like “Birds”, very atmospheric, moody and deep (some mistakenly call this depressing) and marks a departure from Anouk’s usual rock sound, delving further into the direction of soul that started with “Lost”. The usually outgoing and hilarious Dutch singer proves to be, on “Sad Singalong Songs”, a highly sensitive person but also “strong black woman” at the same time. She is the epitome of a woman who takes fate into her own hands, even if this means to put an end to it, like in “Birds”. She is the one who lays down “The Rules”, starting with “Rule number one / There will be no rules.” In “Only A Mother”, she is the mom of four (yes) who will undoubtedly speak to all women who love their children like only a mother can. And, in “Kill”, she will speak to the scorned woman who ponders the difficult decision whether to kill the adulterous father of her children.
After recently discovering or rediscovering Anouk via Eurovision 2013, many, including us, have been tempted to compare her to Adele and Lana Del Rey, because of the flawless live renditions of her songs and her moody, melancholic sound. But the truth of the matter is that the Dutch singer has been around longer than these ladies have been and, for those familiar with the rock star who erupted on the international stage proclaiming she is “Nobody’s Wife”, she is just confirming what we have known all along: Anouk is a powerhouse in her own right and a singular voice to be reckoned with.
Granted, the songs on the album are not radio-friendly, but Anouk is a risk-taker who is never afraid to be bold. Take, for instance, her decision to showcase her videos and to release her new album after the semi-final. And, indeed, to participate in an usually lively song competition with a gloomy track. We applaud Anouk for breaking the rules and the the “Netherlands curse”, bringing her country in the Final after nine years.
“Birds” really is a triumph for the Netherlands, as we predicted when we first listened to the song. We’re glad that Anouk’s voice will echo again in the Malmö Arena on Saturday night, particularly because she is Wiwi Jury’s favourite to win the contest. And we promise to sing along! Succes, Nederland!
Bogdan Honciuc is a Romania-based correspondent for WiwiBloggs.com.