Agnes Obel’s debut album Philharmonics was released in several European countries one year ago, and it only took 4 months for it to become a certified Double-Platinum album. Shortly after that, Agnes Obel made her US debut.
What drew me in when I first heard her song
(on Revenge…which you need to see if you haven’t yet) was how haunting both her voice and piano melodies were. Haunting in such a beautiful way that it was almost reminiscent of a lullaby…but it was like a grown-up lullaby. Riverside
I was not disappointed when I listened to all of the other songs on Philharmonics since they all have that same simple, but lingering, feel to the melodies and lyrics. I was also pleasantly surprised to see that several songs on the album are simply instrumental pieces featuring only the piano.
This became very fitting after I later learned that Agnes herself has said: “I put a long time before writing texts because the music seems to tell already a story, to project images….The piano and the singing are two equal things to me – maybe not inseparable but very connected. You can say they are like two equal voices."
And I do find that both her voice and her piano are equal voices, coming together to tell one story in her songs. Even her instrumental pieces seem to communicate her message better than most words could.
To me, this album is a wonderful example of what music is at its core: A way to tell a story and share a sentiment using your melodies, your voice, and your words.