“Without You” – Marie Lalá
Polished and perky, “Without You” is also sneaky memorable. Right away, I like the extra beats that complicate the verse, and the staccato, neo-new wave ambiance. But everything, I soon discover, is a set-up for the chorus, which is bright and bangly and familiar-seeming in a good way. And yet it’s not even the sing-along part that nails it for me as much as what happens at 0:45, when the momentum slows, on the words “I don’t seem to get the point.” I feel restored here to an unknown moment in the distant past, either because the melody is reminding me of a song I can’t quite remember or maybe it’s just the classic power of returning to the major after a sidestep to the minor (“the minor fall, the major lift”). But that’s where I fall in love with this song and, just about, the singer too.
And what’s not to love about the mysterious Marie Lalá? When I first featured her here, last February, I openly questioned the veracity of the Swedish singer/songwriter’s quirky, unforthcoming biography, which talked of her background as an aerialist in the circus and her current job climbing ropes on an offshore oil rig. One must be wary in this hoax-friendly day and age, mustn’t one? As her debut album, Surrender My Soul, is released this week, a bit more background has been revealed, and the story is, I now believe, the actual truth. She no longer works on the oil rig, however, as she used the job to finance her album. “Without You” is the first available track.
Note that Lalá’s given last name is Nilsson; note too that she appears to have taken her stage name from the aerialist immortalized by Edward Degas in the painting “Miss La La at the Cirque Fernando,” a reference I missed last time around. You can download the MP3 via the song title above, or visit SoundCloud for a higher-quality .wav file.