Once again, music critics fail to grasp magic. Fail to grasp music. They think that through describing music you can approximate an understanding or appreciation of music. No. No you can’t. All you can do by describing music is to appear Second Rate. Description usually even fails to ascribe sentiment or emotion or understanding. No amount of rehashed press releases or random superlatives or hubris can shake that. Look at those marks. 8.3. B+. 4/5. 9. 8.5 4/5. Look at them. Is this a code that no one has the cipher for? It signifies nothing except acceptance of conformity.
1. No contemporary artist sings words like “sublimation,” “clitoris,” or “soft dick rock” with such enveloping elegance or unfettered ease. On Blood Bitch, Hval continues with her subtle deliveries of “abstract romanticism,” “subjectivity,” and “speculum.” Her voice is at once extremely musical and coolly flat; occasionally, she whispers. (Pitchfork, 8.3)
2. Vampire tropes and menstrual blood turn into beautifully crafted weapons of empowerment on the Norwegian musician’s sixth album (Consequence of Sound, B+)
I can read press releases too.
3. “What’s this album about, Jenny?” asks a voice midway through this short but highly intriguing record from Norwegian pop experimentalist Jenny Hval. “It’s about vampires,” she replies, then hurriedly adds: “Well, it’s about more things than that.” Indeed it is. Menstruation, death and uncontained desire are also among the preoccupations of the album, Hval’s fourth under her own name. (The Guardian, 4/5)
Looking for insight? Look away then.
4. Jenny Hval makes pop music. Jenny Hval makes experimental music. Jenny Hval makes difficult music. These are some of the ways in which we attempt to explain the music of the ever-inventive and fascinating Norwegian artist. Ways to try and avoid the grey areas, to have things explained and nicely compartmentalised so we can be content and move on to the next thing on the list and find a place in the world for that. (The Line of Best Fit, 9)
It must be later than I thought. I can’t stop myself yawning.
5. Opener ‘Ritual Awakening’ is poised on a billowing tornado of electronics, clearing the air for Hval’s abstract vocals to take the stage. It’s a soothing antidote to the enduring pain of cramps and sanitary towels. (Factmag)
It is? Market it.
6. All that’s left to do is to approach the album the way you would modern art at a museum: with open ears, curious eyes, and a desire to exit with a newfound ability to find beauty in most everything around you. (Consequence of Sound, B+)
Uh. Eh? Not a fan at all then?
7. I started this review to flare a light, to prove Hval’s artistry and reject her perception of her art as “combined failures”. But now that I am on the other side, I am smitten, dead in heat, and raving, raving, ravished. (Drowned In Sound, 9)
My son has been upstairs crying to his mother for 90 minutes now.
8. Blood Bitch, the latest album from Jenny Hval takes menstruation as a central theme and connects it with another myth linking women to blood – that of the vampire. There blood represented a feral, sexual desire, with stories often featuring a woman letting go of her senses at the release of warm crimson. There’s a cyclic and transformative element to both subjects and this is what Hval explores. (The 405, 8.5)
Such a shame this record had a press release sent out with it.
9. An intimate existential chronicle of imprisonment and liberation, its visceral, blood-smeared intensity works off a steady heartbeat of acute artistic ferment, the roiling passion underlying Hval’s powerful declaration of self. (Slant, 4/5)
Five-dollar words, too many of them.
Here is my last attempt to write about Jenny Hval. And that is the 10th.