JENNY HVAL – ” Buffy “

Posted: November 17, 2022 in MUSIC

Back in 2016, Jenny Hval released “Blood Bitch”, a concept album about vampires and menstruation. Six years and five projects later (including two with Lost Girls), the Norwegian art-pop icon still can’t get the fanged menaces out of her head. As fate would have it, though, she seems to have changed her once-positive attitude toward the bloodsucking breed.

“Buffy,” Hval’s first single since the release of “Classic Objects” centers one of history’s most notable vampire dislikers. But like much of Hval’s catalogue, it can’t be taken at face value. Spawned from a free-flowing synth jam, the new song gives an emotional and literary reading of “Buffy’s” less immediately obvious themes. “This is / Why I love her,” she begins. “Now I love / How she could / She couldn’t stop fighting / The facts / The facts of the world / More real than what / We believe is realism.”

From there, Hval moves into a more structural, hierarchical analysis of the show, postulating on its potential as praxis. “Somehow I improvised some lyrics that referred to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, probably just because I have watched it many times,” she explains in a press release. “I do like the idea that a TV series with many episodes, like Buffy, can be used as a creative and political rehearsal. An episodic form rehearsing overthrowing a dictatorship, a plutocracy, or theocracy?

“Buffy” is not a song about a slayer, a superhero, or feminist icon,” she concludes. “If anything, it’s a song about hope, but in an understated and episodic way. Because to me, hope is more hopeful when it is presented in a subtle way.”

Hval, of course, is the queen of subtle, layered presentation. On “Buffy,” as on “Classic Objects” best tracks, she uses her angelic soprano and a sumptuous instrumental as vehicles for a message that’s nuanced, original, and infused with irony, allowing her to evade the trappings of self-seriousness.

“Buffy” arrives following the early November release of a gorgeous live video for two “Classic Objects” cuts — “Cemetery of Splendour” and the title track — directed by Jenny Berger Myhre and including a cameo from Hval’s beloved dog, Cleo.

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