Music

Joanna de Seyne: Picture This

Eden Miller
Joanna De Seyne

Picture This

Label: Essay
US Release Date: 2000-06-13
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There's a slowly forming new musical genre with the increased visibility of the diversity of electronica. This new genre encompasses everyone from its pioneers like Björk to Garbage to the trippy grooves of Lamb and Portishead. Its main feature is the intriguing combination of a female voice over big beats and electronic-generated sounds. And it is into this new genre that Joanna de Seyne's Picture This has appeared.

With her distinctive and deep voice, de Seyne stands apart from the wispy-voiced singers that would be her peers. It is the strength of her voice that initially separates her, but it is the surprising command she takes of her music that keeps her there. Picture This is a fascinating and impressive debut.

Mixing heavy beats with her thoughtful lyrics, Joanna de Seyne crafts songs that feel like small journeys, from the bitter "Lying" to the dark "Free." De Seyne combines emotions, vocals, and music to create intriguing results. None of her songs miss the potential she has created for them.

Picture This's subject matter is mostly about the pain of relationships, but Joanna de Seyne does not let it weigh her music down. Even in the sorrowful "I Don't Deserve You," she seems to be working through her anguish. "Nobody knows how kindness can hurt you," she sings gently. The result is heartbreaking and beautiful. In "State" she brings a bit of humor into the mix, asking "Don't you ever feel like sometimes things stop making sense?" while she's trying to figure out quite what's going on in her life.

If one song could be discarded, however, it would have to be the lyrically and musically uninteresting "Love Fields." Even though the song remains a pleasant listen, it is not up to the same caliber as the rest of Picture This, and adds little to the overall effect of the album.

Joanna de Seyne is an unexpected discovery and will undoubtedly gain the audience she deserves. Her distinguishing voice and talent are apparent on Picture This and will allow her to go as far as she chooses as a musician.

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70. The Horrors - "Machine"

On their fifth album V, the Horrors expand on the bright, psychedelic territory they explored with Luminous, anchoring the ten new tracks with retro synths and guitar fuzz freakouts. "Machine" is the delicious outlier and the most vitriolic cut on the record, with Faris Badwan belting out accusations to the song's subject, who may even be us. The concept of alienation is nothing new, but here the Brits incorporate a beautiful metaphor of an insect trapped in amber as an illustration of the human caught within modernity. Whether our trappings are technological, psychological, or something else entirely makes the statement all the more chilling. - Tristan Kneschke

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