Good things begin with metaphor. You cuddle up under a warm blanket on a slightly worn-out couch. A cup of tea approaching ideal drinking temperature is patiently sat before you, inviting your caring and craving grip. There is nothing in your world except this moment. It is the kind of feeling that will improve your life if allowed to pervade it more often. Upon the gradual emptying of the once so comforting cup comes the realisation that dishes need doing. Life goes on. Let’s explore why. Let’s delve deeper.
With “Sommerfugle” (eng. Butterflies), Godt Gået Frej crafts a soundscape with a gentle story of distant love and indecision. Frej Fogh Darger’s voice simply slides into my ear like olive oil filling up a particularly patina-laden jar. The single’s tasteful arrangement supports that almost all-encompassing lead vocal, allowing it to comfortably float to the top. This is the result of almost every other constituent part being drenched in a sea of reverb, shaped to give space to Frej’s singing. It is the musical equivalent of oil floating on water. The mix separates everything distinctly, yet it undeniably shapes a whole greater than the sum of its parts.
A particular strength of “Sommerfugle” comes when the momentum of the arrangement builds after the third chorus and releases into tastefully overdriven guitars and multiple synthesizers with each their own little motif to perform. It is like a love letter to 80s’ pop coming to a comfy climax, the kind best enjoyed on a worn-out couch. My favourite aspect of this production has to be its unapologetic faith in its arrangement. The melody is deliberately composed and performed with purpose. It leaves equally deliberate pauses to allow the instruments to shine. This decision marvelously results in a song that allows you to take in more than vocal hooks. The richly-layered instrumentation deserves attention, and Frej seems more than willing to oblige. The instrumental hooks have almost as much time to shine as the vocal earworms, a feat rarely bestowed upon a modern pop productions.
My first encounter with “Sommerfugle” left me in a mood reminiscent of going from carefree relaxation to daily duties. As I washed the grime off mental cups and cutlery, the memory of the comfy couch and its carefree, yet carefully orchestrated delights seemed to swiftly dissolve as well. I could vividly remember my enjoyment of the song but struggled to mentally reproduce any musical elements that would explain it. The hooks had gone through me like the contents of my teacup. I listened again. History repeated itself. It would take more tries for its lessons to take hold.
Let not impatience dissuade you from listening again. There is something gratifying in experiencing a song for multiple first times. Each revisit left a slightly stronger impression. This production is tastefully done, each compositional element leaves immaculate space for the next. My mind subconsciously left it behind to seek the pastures of those that scream louder. In this way, “Sommerfugle” invites you in and lets you out. It creates a musical universe that is easy to enter and equally easy to leave. It is up to the listener to go back and form a lasting connection, and the song rewards you for doing so. What I like most about “Sommerfugle” is how it gently leaves me satisfied without urging me to prematurely revive my appetite. This particular brand of music will not scream for your attention. It is a lovely reminder that some of the best musical experiences come from second chances. Water rinses and oil sticks. Now if you excuse me, I’d like to go and cuddle up to a particular mid-70s’ David Bowie album.