ALBUM REVIEW: Jenny Hval – Classic Objects


ALBUM REVIEW: Jenny Hval - Classic Objects

Jenny Hval’s career to date is rich and vast, just like each and every song she creates. Listening to her work makes you question if you should use the word cosmic to other music outside of work. With her debut album for 4AD, she has managed to bring her cosmic world to us in the most accessible way yet. Hval herself calls Classic Objects her take on a pop album. The tracks compared to previous works stick to a more structured format. 

With this ambitious premise, Classic Objects is also a very endearing album. One of its true strengths is the storytelling of each song, a collection of stories so varied in the topics it covers yet so intimately told you almost feel like Hval herself is telling it to you, and only you. Forgive me, but “Year of Love” could be a voice note from a close friend. Something all too familiar to us all after the past two years, Hval states she wrote this record alone and had to pull on her own experiences for song ideas. Interestingly though, Hval says the musical components altered the story and transcend the original plot to something more. We often describe something fondly as out of this world, but these arrangements have the ability to alter real-life memories for the artist to produce something completely different, a true first.

The first taste of Classic Objects arrived late last year with the single “Jupiter”, full of surreal images enchanting vocal tones; it is a full sensory experience, almost hypnotizing you as you flow with the vocals through and synths for the first half and then the darker switch with the second half more experimental, vocal-free hosting almost industrial synthesizers.

Then the absurdist titled ‘Cemetery of Splendor’ is a more sorrowful song, bittersweetly told. Elements of nature are the foundation of the song; in fact, the last minutes of the track are solely field recordings from snippets of nature to the spoken word reciting observations of the outside surroundings, both good and bad, from the beauty to the pollution. Hints of new-age wrapped up with a singable chorus for you, the listener. The layers of sounds and instruments involved are so expansive you can listen, and listen and listen, only to discover something new each and every time.

I found one of the biggest highlights of the record is ‘American Coffee’, a six minutes limitless masterpiece, starting with the intimate tale of Hvals birth to more abstract questioning of life’s what-ifs. Crafted by steady-paced drums luscious pop synth arrangements, there are a couple of moments throughout Classic Objects where Hval’s voice hosts components of soul but the most prominent lies in this song. We have this surreal trail of consciousness in the title track also. But there are more simplistic moments also; perhaps one of the album’s most unique moments is ‘Freedom’, a record length of two minutes seventeen seconds, the most traditional packaged song with simplistic folk.

Classic Objects is a collection of short stories, rich noises born from a lonely empty writing period, “Sometimes art is more real, more evil, just lonelier, just so lonely” (Jupiter) – a musical hug bringing comfort for the listener after two strange years in isolation, and while still managing to achieve its goal to be the aforementioned Hval pop album. An ambitious task achieved effortlessly, but then again, when you look at the complex beauties of all Jenny Hval’s work, there could have never been any doubt.

Xsnoize Author
Imelda Hehir 9 Articles
Imelda is based between her native West Clare, and Amsterdam, where she works for a digital music distributor. She enjoys live music, attempting to make the perfect playlist and of course writing. She prides herself on having a pretty eclectic taste from French disco to ambient, and everything in between. Currently she has Nilüfer Yanya, K. Leimer, and L’Impératrice on heavy Rotation

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