Nina Persson — the immensely talented front woman of The Cardigans and A Camp — will finally make her long-awaited return to the music world with the release of her solo debut, Animal Heart, on February 11, 2014 on The End Records. (And we’ll be giving the album a very positive review as it gets closer to its release date.)
It’s been roughly five years since A Camp’s sophomore album and The Cardigans haven’t released anything since 2005, but it’s not as though Persson has been on a long vacation for the past several years. On the contrary, she’s kept rather busy, collaborating with Manic Street Preachers, Sparklehorse & Danger Mouse, and The Cake Sale Collective (an artists community that includes Australian musician Nick Seymour of Crowded House). She also performed with the New York cabaret group The Citizens Band and played a Finnish tango singer in Amir Chamdin’s 2006 film God Willing.
Animal Heart was written by Persson along with her husband Nathan Larson (A Camp, Shudder To Think), and Eric D. Johnson (The Shins, Fruit Bats). They approached the album in a somewhat casual manner, hanging out at Persson and Larson’s house in Harlem, writing and playing the songs with just a drum machine, a guitar and a piano before they headed into the studio.
“The most difficult, yet perhaps the most positive aspect of going solo are all the decisions you have to make alone” says Persson. “Somewhere inside, I have a very clear clock, a gut feeling, that says what I think. I have forced myself to just keep going and follow my instincts with this album. I have simply no time to dwell on things anymore which I did a lot before.”
How did she approach Animal Heart differently than her work with The Cardigans and A Camp? “Both with The Cardigans and A Camp, I have done everything with very driven, career-oriented musicians, but now I wanted to put my own instrument first. Honor the singer. I have also in my work understood that pop music is lodged deeper in me than I previously wanted to admit.”
What are the songs on Animal Heart about? One theme is about moving forward and not getting trapped by your past. “My animal heart is telling me to flee, ” sings Persson on the title track. “Burning Bridges For Fuel” also addresses this theme. As for other themes, Persson says, ““What I write is still a lot about relationships and alienation. The perennial topics that I always return to.”
Songs like “Catch me crying” and “The Grand Destruction Game” are about past love relationships. But Persson does not always know herself if they’re about sexual relationships or friendships. “But it deals with sentimentality and how to respond to it” she says.
‘Animal Heart’ Tracklisting
01. Animal Heart
02. Burning Bridges For Fuel
03. Dreaming Of Houses
04. Clip Your Wings
06. Food For The Beast
08. Forgot To Tell You
09. Catch Me Cryin
10. The Grand Destruction Game
11. Silver Like The Moon
12. This Is Heavy Metal