photo by Daniel Buchwald

On her first album with lyrics written entirely in Danish, Ida Gard comes out to the listener as a human being. Sharing her thoughts and worries. She does it with musical maturity and high-quality songwriting. That is what makes the “Kan du se mig nu?” album exceptional.

It’s been over a decade since I first heard Ida Gard. Her album “Knees, Feet & The Parts We Don’t Speak Of” is still one of my favourite Danish releases. Yet, there was always something in her music, that made me think she uses different masks to underline points she wants to make. On her new album, “Kan du se mig nu?” (eng. Can you see me now?), I finally hear the person behind Ida Gard’s music persona. The fact she sings in her native language makes her sound more honest and real than ever before.

“My soul has been crying for a thousand years”

“Kan du se mig nu?” album opens up with a strong accent. The first half of the album introduces a somewhat intense, thick atmosphere of rush, insecurity and wondering. “Jeg holder vejret” (eng. I’m holding my breath) expresses a feeling we can all relate to, trying to survive another day and wondering does it have to be so tough. “To drenge” (eng. Two boys), a single from the album is based on the percussion bits and sounds. The song runs as fast as Ida Gard’s train of thought. She is touching on topics of life passing by so fast, people trying to make it and achieving different results. She is contemplating the amount of control we truly have over our path in life. In “Lad os prøve igen” (eng. Let’s try again), Ida Gard dives into reflection on unconscious biases and encourages herself and us to keep on trying and working on improving ourselves.

The bridge between a faster, intense part of the record and its more pop’ish, gentler songs is the title track “Kan du see mig nu?”. It is also my personal highlight of the album, especially lyric-wise. The pulsing beat makes me think of a heartbeat. It takes an extreme level of artistic bravery to expose one’s insecurities and deepest thoughts the way Ida Gard does in “Kan du se mig nu?” when she sings:

“Når luft fortættes og bliver til tårer
Tager vi form
Min sjæl har grædt i tusind år
Tusind år
Man siger tiden læger alle sår
Og gør huden hård
Min sjæl har grædt i tusind år
Kan du se mig nu?”
“When air condenses and turns into tears
We take shape
My soul has been crying for a thousand years
A thousand years
They say time heals all wounds
And hardens the skin
My soul has been crying for a thousand years
Can you see me now?”

Ida Gard the artist, Ida Gard the human

After the outburst of emotions, comes a time to decompress. “Vestre Kirkegård” (eng. Vestre Cementary) is a beautiful ode to one of Copenhagen’s landmarks. The song brings peace of mind. Just like walking through the alleys of the cemetery located in Kongens Enghave district of Denmark’s capital. “Dem der ligger på jorden” (eng. The ones on the ground) on the other hand hits hard. In this song, Ida brings up a realisation that is one hard pill to swallow:  How we can be pinned to the floor in life by people who keep stepping on us. Those who lie on the ground must be stepped on / They’ve laid themselves down / They can just get up on their feet”. It makes us believe that we are not good enough if we can’t make ourselves get up as fast as we should or at all. 

“Stjernekaster” puts a strong period at the end of Ida Gard’s first record written entirely in Danish. The intense atmosphere comes back and the unapologetic guitar riff sticks with you. A song speaking about falling for the best girlfriend and not knowing what to do with it and what to say. Intense emotions and a lot of questions with no one right answer. Ida Gard surprises with this song, which is so different lyrically from the rest of the album, yet so fitting.

Kan Du Se Mig Nu?

“Kan du se mig nu?” is carried by Ida Gard’s vocals which are like a silk shawl that gently caresses the melodies. No song sounds the same, there are different rhythms, different arrangements, styles, and motives… Yet, in the end, everything comes together and makes perfect sense. It is rare to hear a record so diverse, but at the same time so consistent and thought-through.

Ida Gard is an eclectic artist. On “Kan du se mig nu?” she provides a great dose of refreshing honesty and presents her extremely good songwriting skills. Perhaps it is because of the Danish lyrics that this album truly shows Ida Gard as a human being. Not only as a musician. Even more, than any previous records of hers did. The image that we see is one of a complex, complicated, sensitive and observant person that has the strength and courage to open up about her deepest thoughts, doubts and worries. Treat Ida Gard gently, dear listener. Acknowledge and appreciate her vulnerability on “Kan du se mig nu?”. And let her know, even in your thoughts, that you’ve truly seen her in those songs.

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