“This is for everyone who has ever been worried…” Aafke sings on ‘I Stretch the Dark’.
“This is for everyone who has ever been hurried…”
Usually, when stuck in traffic, I suffer from musical Attention Deficit Disorder; forever jumping from song to song, artist to artist, listening but not really hearing.
But Aafke’s “whispering, dark, and gloomy” words cut right to the bone. I am transfixed.
The hopeless frustration of my traffic jam melts away. I can’t even see the man next to me, in his BMW, slamming his open palms on the steering wheel. No, I have a companion to get me through this. Her name is Stella, and I can already tell she’s gonna kick my ass.
Stella Must Die!, Aafke Romeijn's (pronounced Ahv-ka Ro-mine) self-released debut, is not for the faint of heart. Twelve songs of love and its delicious melange of emotion: hate, envy, infatuation, compassion, obsession, and, ultimately, violence.
I could tell you the musicianship, composition, and arrangements on Stella Must Die! are impeccable. After all, Romeijn is conservatory trained and her fellow musicians have undeniable chops as well.
I could tell you the lyrics, written in English - Aafke’s second language, are so poignant and brutally honest that they display a wisdom far beyond Romeijn’s mere 24 years.
I could tell you the cover art is both teasingly sexy and slightly troubling, particularly when combined with the violently suggestive album title.
I could tell you this, and it would be true.
But it misses the point.
Stella Must Die! is, above all, a love story. And if you’ve ever been touched by the addictive crush of love, Romeijn’s crafty songs will move you.
At the same time, this is not an album suited for a day at the beach. Or a dinner party. Or a mellow Sunday morning. No way. It is operatic and dramatic. Theatrical and extravagant. It demands your attention. It requires you to push away the never-ending distractions of your 21st century life and LISTEN.
When you do, you’ll glimpse the soul of an artist, Aafke Romeijn, with the courage to swim the messy, terrifying and shamelessly human seas of her heart.
As she sings on ‘Stella I’, the album’s opening track, “We’re in love and it’s gonna destroy us both”. That’s right lovers, this is our siren call. Consider yourself warned.
Buy Stella Must Die! here.
Come to Aafke's album release party on 26 January 2012. Check for info here.
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