“I hope you have some common sense/ Cos I’m gonna push you over the edge,” sings Norway’s Susanne Sundfør on the standout of Ten Love Songs, Delirious. Love, it becomes apparent, is a non-traditional term in this context. As mentioned in our recent interview, Sundfør seems very much intent in exploring all the aspects brought with it: ecstasy, bitterness, and general gravel-in-the-knees level of grot. Clearly this is our kind of woman.
It all starts out relatively pleasant though, as Sundfør pines through the words “we wanted to believe in love”, backed by a soaring choir on Darlings. But it doesn’t take long for menace to set in on the fantastically macabre Accelerate, a noir-ish take on synth-pop that pulses as much as it broods (and thinks nothing of adding a Phantom-esque organ interlude).
Those synths remain jagged and relentless throughout the record, compounded with strings that mount her sound on a scale much more cinematic and grandiose. It’s apparent in the twilight orchestra of Silencer, and most prominently on the album’s ten-minute centrepiece, Memorial. Made in conjunction with Anthony Gonzalez of M83, it’s the soundtrack to motion picture heartbreak with Sundfør as the star, made all the more poignant as it segues into the bad-ass, unrepentant voice of Delirious.
What is love to Susanne Sundfør, then, over the course of ten songs? The same as it is for everyone, it seems, though presented in away that is by turns moving, menacing, unforgiving, and the right kind of exhausting. “This is the kind of love that never goes out of style,” she sings on another album highlight, Fade Away. For her sake – and for better or worse – we hope it never does.