Having come out of a year of isolation, FRIDA HYVÖNEN paired up once again with Swedish producer Jari Haapalainen in Stockholm’s famous Atlantis studio and made her second full-length Silence Is Wild – due November 4th, 2008 on Secretly Canadian. Whereas Hyvönen’s 2006 debut Until Death Comes was lean and percussive with her distinctive oompah-styled piano and direct lyrics, Silence Is Wild stretches her voice across lush arrangements of piano, strings, choirs, and synths.
Piano-based antecedents and contemporaries such as Carole King, Jerry Lee Lewis, Plush, and Antony and the Johnsons generally feel like appropriate touchstones for discussing the Swedish singer-songwriter’s recorded work. Lyrically, however, Hyvönen is in more open waters, as she forges her own stylistic path as a songwriter. “December”, for instance, is a simple – almost banal – song about abortion that has been utterly stripped of emotion and showcases her distinct talent for political & social ambivalence. On “Pony” she flips the Smog classic “I Break Horses” on its head. Bill Callahan’s confidence bristled on the latter as he sang “I break horses / I don’t tend to them / I break horses / They seem to come to me / Asking to be broken / They seem to run to me.” On Silence Is Wild’s “Pony”, Hyvönen sings:
The stable is where you learn to
be in charge and not take shit
Dressed to the occasion
leather boots and a stiff black whip
I don’t even have to use it!
I just hold it like this;
my pony knows when she sees it
that does she not behave
she will get to taste it
On Silence is Wild, Hyvönen continues to take an utterly modern approach to classic songwriting forms: blending the confessional with the fictional; mixing wit with a sexuality that shifts from the refined to the raw; all the while using language which dances effortlessly between the timeless and the contemporary, referencing high art and pop culture in a transcendent manner which masterfully puts Hyvönen at the top of a new international class of singer-songwriters.
Check out the first mp3, “Enemy Within” from the album here!