Swedish songstress Agnes gained a global audience and a throng of fans a few years ago with her international hit “Release Me”. I was not one of them. At the time, I casually dismissed “Release Me” as nothing more than a heard-it-all-before scandipop tune sung by a chick who looked like the long lost twin of Leona Lewis. I don’t know what I was actually thinking since “Release Me” is actually a fabulously modern take on classic disco, but it is what it is.
Agnes made her return this week with a brand new single “One Last Time”. I was expecting more dance-pop, but I was dead wrong.
“One Last Time” is a Ryan Tedder-style pop ballad seen through a kaleidoscope of Swedish indie-pop — think Leona Lewis meets Lykke Li. Twinkly synths dance around ominous drum loops as Agnes delivers a painfully beautiful vocal performance, reaching for the emotional jugular with a scarily accurate description of the exact moment you’re being let go by a lover.
“Light hits your face / and you look at me like I’m a stranger,” Agnes sings. “So far away / but still so near / and you can blame it on a crazy heart / I got lost / you got torn apart / I wish you would let me hold you one last time.”
Producer Quant, best known for his work on Hurts’ debut album Happiness, serves up a cunning surprise on the song’s bridge, fooling you for a split second into thinking a dubstep breakdown is about to take place, right before dropping a thundering drum line that leads into Agnes screaming, her voice distorted and twisted until she sounds like an android dying of a broken heart.
Agnes, please accept my sincerest apologies for assuming you were nothing more than some generic Swedish flop who just belonged in Eurovision and gay nightclubs. I have now seen the error of my ways, and will pay my penance by listening to “One Last Time” on repeat for the next hour. Or week.