Mr Little Jeans (aka Monica Birkenes) has announced details for her long-awaited sophomore record, the follow-up to her acclaimed 2014 album Pocketknife. The Norwegian musician will release Better Days on June 3 via Nettwerk Records – an album that is a testament to Birkenes’ strength as a songwriter and vocalist and dives into undoing the trauma and disgrace that life heaps upon each of us from a young age. It’s a record about fighting to get through and the sunlight that awaits on the other side. The definitive document by a pop artist whose absence has been sorely felt, it’s a testament, an album defined by virtuosity and spirit. Now, she also shares the sultry single and an album highlight, “Lazy Love,” whichfollows previously released tracks “Paper Vows,” “Jump To Fall,” and “Forgetter.” The anthem of defiance showcases Birkenes’ driving melodies and appealing sense for rhythm: “Shiny feelings will expire/You used to give emotion/Now I’m only getting residue/And I have kept my mouth shut, but I’m tired/Of giving without getting back.”
The track also comes along with a hypnotic new video directed by Tracy Antonopoulos. “Monica’s visceral vocals draw the listener into a cinematic world which is built out and enhanced by dazzling production, and grounded in real, honest emotion,” notes Antonopoulos. “With the video, I tried to bring this world to life: telling the story of a heroine being pushed to her limits, both physically and emotionally. ‘Lazy Love’ made the perfect soundtrack for that scenario.” Mr Little Jeans adds, “I’ve been wanting to work with Tracy after seeing an Opening Ceremony video she filmed and her excellent Blood Orange video. Initially, I was gonna be featured a little more, but, due to my rapidly growing baby bump – I’m due with my first child soon – leading lady Morgan Quinn came to the rescue and jumped in!”
Better Days plays like a true emotional journey, with higher peaks and deeper valleys than Pocketknife. It arrives towards the tail end of a tumultuous few years in which her entire life was thrown into disarray, but, as ever, music offered a path back from the brink: a way to reinterpret the nightmares that had plagued Birkenes’ life and a way to reaffirm the creativity that’s always been a guiding light. The album’s title is a tonic — a reminder that, even in times of darkness, better days can be found.
Photo Courtesy: Nina Jordan