With the release of “the one”, Marika Hackman has solidified herself as a diverse and multi-layered songwriter — one who is definitely full of surprises. Hackman’s lyricism was already well established, with a brave, fresh voice that wasn’t afraid to unpack and revel in intimate, twisted details. But with “the one”, she takes all of that songwriting talent and pumps it into a different sound. The new single from her “Any Human Friend” album, out on August 9th, is “probably the poppiest song I’ve ever written,” according to the artist. “I loved the idea of inhabiting this ridiculous arrogant rock star character who has totally fucked their career by writing too many sad songs.”
Straight from the opening bars, you know that you’re in for a song with a distinctly more pop-esque edge than much of Hackman’s earlier work, but the lyrics are all that you expect from the singer-songwriter. And the playful clash of the upbeat sound with the dark, irreverent lyrics is totally inspired. You might not hear many pop songs that include a riot grrrl Greek chorus, but that’s clearly because no other artist could pull it off like Hackman — with a knowing wink and a smile. This ability to toy with different genres — and then discard them — is a trademark of Hackman’s and gives her a maturity far beyond her years.
There’s no doubt that Hackman’s talents are beginning to be recognized by the industry. She’s been a part of the BBC 6 Music Festival, The Great Escape, All Points East, and Field Day. But “Any Human Friend” seems to mark a self-assured, exploratory turn. “This whole record is me diving into myself and peeling back the skin further and further, exposing myself in quite a big way. It can be quite sexual,” Hackman says. “It’s blunt, but not offensive. It’s mischievous.”
The whole album has a sense of the experimental and the unexpected, lurking delightfully around every turn. It has all of the introspection and thoughtfulness that you expect from Hackman’s lyrics and music, but also a feeling of having room to breathe. Maybe it’s because she produced the album herself, alongside David Wrench (known for his work with Frank Ocean, The xx, Let’s Eat Grandma) — but there’s a sense that we’re finally getting a glimpse at all that Hackman has to offer. And it’s a sight to behold.