Stikkordarkiv: The Little Humming Book

The Little Humming Book

Review by Øystein Hauge (originally published Romsdals Budstikke)


If we go 30 years back in time, many of us will remember the discussion brought forward by the literature professor Georg Johannesen when he criticized the lyrics of popular singer/songwriter Åge Aleksandersen. But using the same criteria of quality for judging lyrics as we do published poetry is as questionable as removing Dylan´s voice when reviewing his music.

WORDS is Ane Brun´s complete collection of lyrics so far. And is the first book I´ve heard of where you can choose between four different front covers. But let us leave the cover aside. I am more interested in if the artist manages to bring some of the magic she creates with her personal voice and guitarplaying into the printed format.

As we already know, there´s a lot of love here. But you’ll have to look elsewhere if you´re looking for classic love stories as you hear in most country music. Ane Brun´s lyrics introduce us to a different kind of love, if we can put it that way. A love that in almost a Kate Bush-kind of way is camouflaged by the imagery and hidden in-between the lines. And in that way it has a stronger emotional impact.

You smiled at me through a dirty windshield/
You just got back from where the cyclone hit

As I read through the pages I get more and more convinced that this is an artist who puts down a lot of work in her lyrics. And that´s also how we prefer to think about a real singer-songwriter. First and foremost a musician, but also a poet. We expect a strong and personal performance, but we also demand authenticity and presence in the lyrics.

Sure, it´s soft and vulnerable. And it´s sweet and fragile. But nevertheless, these are lyrics that grab you and shake you. Even on their own – without the music – her words move from one song to the next about someone on his or her way to new cities, someone on the move, someone who has got to get away. The combination of her soft musical expression spun around vulnerable lyrics has somehow become this artist´s trademark.

If you grew up with vinyls, and know the feeling of opening up the most amazing booklets with lyrics by Dylan, Doors and Deep Purple, then you also know what WORDS is about. It´s about giving the listener a chance to once again read and hum along with the music in this new world of digital streaming. The way we used to do with the Beatles´ ‘Rubber Soul’.

Now we can hum with Ane Brun´s ‘Rubber and Soul’.