Breakup songs are a staple in the music industry—but it isn’t often an artist tackles the subject of heartbreak for an entire album. Sondre Lerche’s third studio album Please holds the potential to be a record teeming with whiny, petty songs, blaming his (now) ex-wife of eight years for all the misery he’s experienced. However, while Lerche does explore different hardships of divorce, the upbeat energy and quirky lyrics on Please create an infectious album signature to this Norwegian singer/songwriter.
The cheery sounds of synthesizers and percussion variety on the album lead one to suspect a much happier message than is actually implied. It’s not until lyrics are involved that it becomes clear Lerche is addressing the entire emotional spectrum of divorce with Please. He reflects on the times he couldn’t imagine his life without his ex, the times he held on to what they had and refused to admit their relationship’s demise, and the bitter realization he was lucky to have had her in his life.
“Legends” sounds like it belongs on some teen rom-com movie soundtrack. If the lyrics are disregarded, the track could be the perfect song for a happy ending scene on the big screen. The cheery drumming and funky guitar in combination with Lerche’s youthful crooning leaves listeners feeling uplifted and eager to tackle the world (in that cliché empowered way that tends to accompany quirky, indie films). However, “Legends” will never be that happy ending song due to its lyrics—though it does provide an interesting twist to a break-up hit. Lerche sings, “Please disregard/My naked fate/I just realized/The takes are just too late/Can’t dish out in daylight/Can’t stare ourselves down/Can we maneuver honestly/When it comes swinging back around/Oh why/Oh why/Now I’ll never know what legends/We could be/Just me and you and you and me.”
While most of the album has a catchy, light-hearted feel, Lerche is quick to embrace the slower, more emotional songs when needed.
He experiments with the sounds of these slower songs, as well; he makes use of acoustic instruments in “Crickets,” but channels a smooth jazz tone a few songs later in “At Times We Live Alone.” One song Lerche will be wailing over the sounds of fast-paced drums and synthesized guitar riffs, and the next he will have switched over to a more organic sound using solely acoustic instrumentation. While the approach isn’t one typically taken, the end result is true to what Lerche is known to produce.
“Legends” is defining of Please. The album is full of equally catchy tunes, but still impressively expresses the hardships following a break-up. Judging from the song title, “Lucifer” has the potential to be dark and depressing, but instead possesses a transgalactic feel resulting from the use of bells, whispering guitar sections and airy vocalas. Lerche sings, “All I wanna do is strike a match/Set fire to you/I don’t mind it if we cannot speak/I don’t mind much if we can/When you’re with me I don’t understand/Why on earth we would ever speak again/Lucifer/I prefer the simple life/Although we’ll never be/Quite of this earth/Lucifer/I try so hard to capture you/I made a song and dance/The most natural event/Everybody lifts you up and down.”
Lerche could have easily made the album the emotional equivalent of a raincloud, or he could have even taken a more drastic approach and dedicated his songs to berating and blaming his ex-wife.
These approaches would have turned Please into a static album with little variety or depth. Except, he decided to include the good and bad sides of heartbreak throughout the entirety of his album, and his decision to do so helped turn Please into a multifaceted album exploring the complexities of getting over someone. Certain Top 40 pop stars should take notes from Lerche’s tactic and find classier ways of dealing with breakups (Ahem, Ms. Swift.) Lerche’s ability to create an engaging album from one single topic is a good indication that what is to come is likely to please and entice.
Sondre Lerche – Please tracklist:
- “Bad Law”
- “At Times We Live Alone”
- “After the Exorcism”
- “At a Loss For Words”
- “Lucky Guy”
- “Logging Off”