tremble clef

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Jessica Folcker, "Snowflakes" (2007)

Although the central question asked by Jessica Folcker in this spellbindingly addictive song isn't especially imaginative -- she'd like to know why snowflakes fall from the sky, but appear not to be curious about why they are, say, hexagonally symmetrical -- the production boasts more than enough imaginative flourishes to make up for it. Helmed by multiple Andreases (specifically, Andreas "With Every Heartbeat" Kleerup and Andreas Unge, the bassist and producer who's also in the world music band Calle Real), "Snowflakes" is full of little production tricks that may, if the chips fall right (i.e., if the indie kids pay attention), help turn the track into this year's crossover electropop number, a la "Chewing Gum" or "Be Mine."

Possessing a lilt in her voice that makes her sound remarkably like Kim Wilde at moments, Jessica never oversells the song. Her measured tones are a perfect fit for the subject matter, since the track supposedly recognizes the inevitable end of a relationship. But as the song goes on, the producers pile on the backing vocals. These initially do little more than repeat the main melodic lines on the choruses, but when we enter the final minute of the song, they take on more independent life: again and again, they start to sing the melody, but then seem unable to progress beyond the opening syllables, as if the strain of keeping it together has started to pull Jessica apart.

But, most of all, there is that taut 80s beat: urgent, but melancholically so, as if the drums are racing only in an attempt to outrun sadness. But listen also to how they strategically drop out at transitional points: when we first go from the verse to the pre-chorus, at 0:46, to allow Jessica to proclaim herself "like a fool without a clue"; between that pre-chorus and the chorus, at 1:01, so that she can ruefully say, "Now I only wish I never met you"; or, as the first chorus comes to an end at 1:15, at which point the drums don't drop out as much as they stutter and pound, three times ("I can't help but feel no sorrow -- BOOM BOOM BOOM! -- for you"), either for emphasis or simply with one last burst of unspoken grief that the lyric pretends that it can deny. But when the song runs through its second iteration, it cuts back those breaks in the drum pattern to one (only at the end of the chorus). The beat, in other words, gets more relentless as the song goes on, as if each sing-through gives Jessica the strength -- or, amounting to the same thing, the heartbroken resolve -- to, in the words of that other Kleerup song, not look back. Never stop to look back.

Bonus: the Credheadz remix, which tries to turn the track into a filterhouse stomper (quite successfully, but not without blunting some of its emotional impact).


  • I prefer the remix. Definitely a stomper!

    By Blogger Yuяi, at 9:55 PM  

  • What do you think of the album? I want to like it but it sounds a little bit cheap. I think I like Desperately though.

    By Blogger xolondon, at 10:01 AM  

  • It's not very good, is it? "Hot Night" (which is even more 80s than "Snowflakes"), "Spell I'm Under," and "Always Something" are okay, I suppose.

    By Blogger Brittle, at 10:22 AM  

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