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2021 Repeat: Dark/Melancholic

Let's dive into some of the more sinister sounds.

🕒 This newsletter is 648 words, a 5-minute read.

When I started writing about music back in 2008, I was heavily invested in goth music. Intrigued by outfits like ASP, Das Ich, or The Beauty of Gemina, the melancholy and darkness in their sound held a deep fascination.

Although I’ve broadened my horizon, the fascination for the sinister side of music never faded.

As announced in the initial explainer to ‘2021 Repeat’, I attempted to bundle songs that spread a particular atmosphere. And today, we’re diving into some of the darker and heavier songs featured in the past months.

The genres range from post-punk, wave, and metal—styles that are typically associated with a gloomy ambience—to some bold choices like rap or electronica.

Since all the songs have already been featured before, I won’t review the song again but explain why the song still appeals strongly to me. You’ll also find links to Spotify and Apple Music, as well as the episode the song was featured in.

I hope you enjoy the first edition of 2021 Repeat. If today’s selection doesn’t float your boat, don’t worry: The next newsletter will follow soon and feature pumping beats and catchy pop tunes.

All the best,


Hilke – Paradoxes (feat. Frank Powers)

🎧 SpotifyApple Music • 🔁 Repeat Episode #25

Paradoxes by Swiss artist Hilke is a creeping trip-hop hymn. With its slow pace and heavy-weight step, the song is almost violent. The roaring brass section contrasts Frank Power’s fragile voice. Paradoxes makes you feel small, insignificant even. Hilke strips you down to bare existence.

Insomnium – The Wanderer

🎧 SpotifyApple Music • 🔁 Repeat Episode #27

It’s borderline kitsch, The Wanderer by Finnish metal outfit Insomnium. Although I first was sceptical towards the song, its epic and balladesque nature grew on me with each time I listened to it. And some part of me is a sucker for the dramatic and cinematic.

Violence – Rendezvous (Not I / We)

🎧 SpotifyApple Music • 🔁 Repeat Episode #21

Copenhagen-based band Violence stunned me with their debut single Rendezvous (Not I / We). It’s a perfect amalgamation of post-punk, wave, and sprinkles of indie rock that catapult these 80s genres into the 21st century. A song that is full of longing melody. It is a beauty.

Léonie Pernet – Hard Billy

🎧 SpotifyApple Music • 🔁 Repeat Episode #29

I can only recite myself: Soothing apocalypse. Sinister hope. Hard Billy by French multi-instrumentalist Léonie Pernet is the heartbeat of the fragile world. A hymn to fights and life itself between rebellion and myth. Hard Billy is full of hope for the hopeless and despair for the hopeful.

Kælan Mikla – Hvítir Sandar (feat. Alcest)

🎧 SpotifyApple Music • 🔁 Repeat Episode #30

With their collaboration with Alcest, the Islandic trio Kælan Mikla created the soundtrack to an ancient ritual. Hvítir Sandar conjures a dark abyss. Eery synthesizer and screaming guitar emerge and suck you into the void. The song is a celebration of musical witchcraft.

A Projection – Darwin’s Eden

🎧 SpotifyApple Music • 🔁 Repeat Episode #4

Pure adrenaline. Stockholm’s A Projection built a hymn for foggy dancefloors, a driven hommage to the 80s at the intersection of darkwave and post-punk. Darwin’s Eden shines in its catchy simplicity, and yet it’s precisely this simplicity that makes the track so irresistible.

Lizki – Lift Me Up

🎧 SpotifyApple Music • 🔁 Repeat Episode #32

Lizki’s Lift Me Up is the musical equivalent of being down on the knees and crying for help. Technoid beats mercilessly pump despair into the soul while Lizki’s angelic voice rises to the sky. Lift Me Up is a stomping track, cutting through hearts like a hot knife through butter.

GEISTHA – altar

🎧 SpotifyApple Music • 🔁 Repeat Episode #17

Non-binary artist GEISTHA surprised me with their single altar, a unique mix of rap and nocturnal goth vibes. The track flows like a car through the city at night, and despite the mysterious atmosphere, altar feels undeniably cool. I still love the song’s unusual setting.

VLURE – Heartbeat

🎧 SpotifyApple Music • 🔁 Repeat Episode #31

VLURE is not only the new hot post-punk shit from Glasgow but also took me by storm with their ultra-violent massacre that is Heartbeat. The relentless energy and raging anger demand attention. VLURE demonstrate raw power, unfiltered emotion that boggle the mind.

Harakiri for the Sky – Song to Say Goodbye

🎧 SpotifyApple Music • 🔁 Repeat Episode #8

Harakiri for the Sky’s cover of Placebo’s undying Song to Say Goodbye is a loud, brutal interpretation, adding anger to the original’s hopelessness. The Austrian post-black-metal band provided one of the most brutal entries in the Weekly5 playlist, but one that creates a rush every time I listen to it.