Jenny Hval: Blood Bitch Album Review

7.5

Final:

7.5

It’s been three years since Jenny released her “Innocence Is Kinky”: the highest point of the 36 years old Norwegian singer career up to now. In the middle we count other two albums (“Apocalypse, Girl” and “Meshes of Voice”, in collaboration with Susanna Wallumrød), lots of changes and the continuous desire to dazzle her listeners. These are the premises with which we approached to her latest release: “Blood Bitch”.

Jenny’s path is partly about attitude and style; but it’s essentially about art. Her unconventional avant-gardism can be sensed in every shade of her works, therefore “Blood Bitch” can be considered as a new brick in Jenny’s drawing. This time her concept is as precise and clear as difficult to understand; vampire stories, sense of alienation and menstrual blood are central to her narration, cooked following a recipe unknown to anyone else. The ability of Jenny to sound similar to different artists, but at the same time to maintain her precise identity, is well recognizable. Sometimes during the tape she can sound like Lana Del Rey adding a small amount of madness or a counter-version of Grimes, that spent all her holiday in a chalet in Scandinavia. Sacred Bones’ influence (her new label) is extremely noticeable during the entire record; not only bass and drums, but also sinuous synths accompany her voice giving harmony to the entire project.

Ritual Awakening” opens the album, few simple lines in which the artist exposes her intentions; speaking, and so singing and creating, is a necessity for her to save her from modern society and, above all, from herself. Jenny’s psyche is poured through her lyrics, suffering is just the starting point and her self-determination is the target. The two first singles, “Female Vampire” and “ Conceptual Romance”, in addition with “Period Piece”, are the episodes with the strongest impact. In “Female Vampire” the sense of anxiety surrounds both the melody and the lyrics, reaching the peak with a breathlessly run that goes along with the listener until the end of the following track. “Conceptual Romance” is in our opinion the highest point of the album, the one track that sums up all of Jenny’s purposes best. Her voice exudes desperation and hope at the same time; the lyrics reveal her nature, who she is, what she’s trying to escape from and what she’s looking for. “Period Piece”, too, deserves special attention; the topic is quite particular: menstruation. The symbolism behind this track is incredibly vast to be synthetically analysed. Connections are between art value and meaning, human nature and society’s decay. The album closes with a speech by Jenny. She’s finally found out her solution. “Desire” is what can really save all of us, but no one’s really able to understand it.

“No one ever asked me: How do I desire? I don’t think anyone ever talked to me Using the word “desire” at all No one ever told me or taught me not to contain it It kept existing, but there was no language Does anyone have any language for it? Can we find it?”

[from “Lorna”]

In conclusion, from a strictly musical point of view, this album can’t be considered astonishing or amazing, but we should acknowledge Jenny the merit of innovating her style once again without changing her real nature. This record is with no doubt a complex trip inside her mind, where atmospheres are often illogical, fluctuating between two extremes but one thing is for sure: “Blood Bitch” is the most honest and sincere work she could have possibly given us.

 

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Jenny Hval: Blood Bitch Album Review

It’s been three years since Jenny released her “Innocence Is Kinky”: the...
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