Assessment | Astrid Sonne is aware of that baby-making music needs to be bizarre


Till lately, the strangest pop tune I’d ever heard about procreation was “I Wanna Have Your Infants,” a bubbly reproductive prelude from 2007, delivered with giddy-horny gusto by the British blue-eyed soul singer Natasha Bedingfield. Whereas most pop songs make the most of at the very least a modicum of gloss to hide the thirstiest components of the human situation, this factor sounded prefer it was shot stuffed with caffeine and fact serum. “Belief me,” Bedingfield sang on the bridge, “it could scare you that I’ve picked out the church, all the faculties, all of the names.” Unhinged and unashamed, “I Wanna Have Your Infants” nonetheless sounds as exhilarating because it does plausible.

Child-making music hadn’t felt as weird since. Then Astrid Sonne got here together with “Do You Wanna,” the haunting spotlight of the younger Danish composer’s starkly evocative new album, “Nice Doubt.” The tune finds Sonne asking the large query — “Do you wanna have a child?” — at the very least two other ways. On the outset, it’s one thing like a blunt-force pickup line, drained of solicitousness, flirtatiousness or something resembling need. “You take a look at me,” Sonne sings, sounding like Sade after an additional Xanax. “Do you wanna have a child?” Then the drumbeat — hi-hat ticking like a clock; kick drum pounding like a headache — drops out, and Sonne retreats into her personal thoughts. “I feel to myself, ‘Do you wanna have a child?’” Her voice sounds each bit as cool and matter-of-fact as earlier than. Possibly we’ve been inside her head the whole time.

Both means, that is new turf for Sonne, whose earlier albums have been largely instrumental efforts that drew closely on ambient music and traditional minimalism. “Nice Doubt” toggles forwards and backwards between wordless soundscaping and sung songs, however in each modes, Sonne likes taking part in switcheroo video games with artificial and acoustic timbres — actual viola right here, pretend string part there and so forth. As for her lyrics, they constantly faucet into the strangeness of the on a regular basis. “Search for on the sky,” she sings on “Staying Right here,” her phrases echoing off some unknowable floor. “Every little thing is unreal, however I’m not going wherever.”

This, together with practically each different second on “Nice Doubt,” appears to be pointing again to “Do You Wanna.” Life is bizarre. And we’re caught in it. Which makes the act of summoning new human beings into our firm — from the cosmos; out of your bloodline; from wherever you suppose infants come from — actually bizarre. Within the tune’s second half, Sonne poses a follow-up query that doesn’t elevate the stakes a lot as make clear and increase them: “Do you wanna deliver folks into this world?” Then she repeats the phrase “folks” in a melody that rises then droops, speaking an optimism weighed down by exhausting fact.

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Not children. Individuals. She’s enthusiastic about the ramifications of baby-making in time scales longer than childhood and parameters broader than household. Why does a query so wise, so altruistic, really feel so unusual? And why is life’s strangeness the very factor that so usually makes it really feel essentially the most actual? Sonne’s sobering ultimate reply applies to all of those questions: “I actually don’t know.”



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