Today’s find is “Forest,” from the new album Yearnings (PACAYA) by the Berlin singer-songwriter/folky person Minru (real name Caroline Blomqvist). I was drawn to this album because of its cover art, which is often the case; the blurred nature scene, courtesy of Marie Dresler (no, not the old silent movie actress) reminded me of the image gracing the front of Bon Iver’s 2011 self-titled album. Even musically, I could see Blomqvist as being a kind of spiritual cousin to Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon, although less cryptic and experimental. This song establishes your basic city-as-forest metaphor, but unlike the concrete jungle from Jay Z and Alicia Keys’ “Empire State of Mind,” this forest is not “where dreams are made of”; rather, it’s a place where vultures and carnivores (businesspeople, I’m guessing) try and fail to satiate their desires through violence and aggression. Blomqvist yearns (that’s the name of the album; see what I did there!) to abandon the rat race and simply “be and feel,” but can’t escape the call of the wild (er, the civilization.) The song is deceptively strange musically; its acoustic guitar, bass, and piano parts weave in and out of each other, sometimes coming together in a euphoric major key, other times combining for a darker, more diminished feel. Blomqvist’s vocals do not reflect these shifts (they remain consistently major), giving the effect of danger lurking behind beauty. The tonally ambiguous nature of the song is what drew me to it. This song would make me feel bad about living in the cutthroat forest/city, but luckily Pittsburgh is basically just a string of suburbs next to a tiny downtown area, so metaphorically it would be closer to a small stand of trees than a real forest.
Side note: I just realized that the famous hook in the aforementioned “Empire State of Mind” makes absolutely no sense. “Concrete jungle where dreams are made of?” What is a preposition doing at the end of that phrase? It’s complete word salad. I like that song and realize that they needed an extra syllable in there, but come on. It’s like the esteemed George W Bush when he said “Families is where our nation finds hope, where wings take dream.” Ok, enough grammar hammering, but that bothered me.
Listen to more Minru: https://minrumusic.bandcamp.com/
Check out Marie Dresler’s art: https://www.instagram.com/milakatharsis/?hl=en