Over a peaceful, arpeggiated bed of boops and bips, “Our Time” unfolds as a graceful and melancholy ballad, celebrating love in the face of loss. Singer Elina Johannsen processes her voice in a way that strikes the ear as both slippery and central, with the elusiveness of the effect mirroring the ambivalent emotional circumstance the song presents.
And yes, for the record, I do not reject all vocal processing, by any means; what I’ve always objected to was the combination of faddishness and thoughtlessness propelling the technique (epitomized by Auto-Tune) for so many years. What should be obvious but, it seems, hasn’t been, is this: be human, be compassionate, be inventive, and all manner of musical and technological expression is open to you. Someone like Björk has known this for years. Prop up shallow idiocies with formulaic songwriting and production methods in pursuit of big streaming numbers and okay, have fun, but I’m not interested.
Meanwhile, Johannsen is tackling the big subject here, with a directness leavened by the sweetness of her tone, the delicacy of her declarations, and the soothing melody. I am assuming the loss she is singing about is a loss occasioned by death, and she seems to be singing from the perspective of the dying person; but, it works if the subject is a less permanent loss as well. She employs simple, mostly one-syllable words throughout, which has the subtle effect of amplifying both the gravity and the sublimity of the situation. The vibe is at once uncomplicated and stimulating, with a number of engaging touches along the way, from the life-support electronic pulse that accompanies two-thirds of the song (listen to how it decamps at 1:52), to the brief but wonderful guitar or guitar-like distortion at 1:03, to the all-out false ending at 2:29. And, a trait not to be underestimated, the song doesn’t overstay its welcome, wrapping up in a concise 3:06, easily inviting repeat listens.
Johannsen is based in Stockholm. Dear Euphoria was previously featured on Fingertips all the way back in 2007; the MP3 to that track, “Falling Behind,” is no longer available. “Our Time” is the second single released to date from an album due out in the spring. Thanks to Johannsen for the MP3.