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REVIEW: Jehnny Beth – ‘To Love Is To Live’ (20L07 Music)


In a sentence:

‘To Love Is To Live’, the debut solo album from Savages’ lead singer Jehnny Beth, is an uncompromising tackling of the dark sides of life as well as a celebration of its highs.

Temporarily stepping away from her role as frontwoman of Savages, Jehnny Beth discovered that recording a solo album was a necessity for her – she couldn’t escape the feeling of urgency to explore and create something that would last beyond her time as a musician and even as a human being. Influenced to record To Love Is To Live when she found out about David Bowie’s death, an incident which shook her understanding of art, living and how those two can come together, Beth suddenly realized that art will always outlive its creator and found this to be the greatest motivator to write some of the most personal and introspective songs in her career. She was no longer putting off her intentions to make a solo record and decided that it would be a testament to her vision of the world.

Her debut solo album, To Love Is To Live, is provocative and intense, mixing refined and subtle sounds with harsh, electronic music. Beth is also very articulate and evocative in her lyrics, which cover an entire palette of thoughts and concepts – from the profound idea of what it is to be human to delving into the depth of her own emotions and experiences.

Music video for ‘Heroine’

‘Innocence’ is a truly eclectic song, full of contrasts, equipped in powerful lyrics about feeling disconnected and lost in a big city, which can turn our hearts cold and blue. The following song, titled ‘Flower’ is a love song which Beth, who is bisexual, wrote for a woman while finally being able to freely express her desires: “She loves me and I love her / I’m not sure how to please her”. ‘A Place Above’ is a short yet intriguing spoken word piece performed by ‘Peaky Blinders’ star Cillian Murphy who shares Beth’s thoughts about “their imagined self-importance”, lies, hatred and violence.

Music video for ‘I’m The Man’

On To Love Is To Live also raises her voice to speak about toxic masculinity on ‘I’m The Man’ in an almost piercing way: “I’m a man, there’s no bitch in town who doesn’t understand how hard my kick can be”. Throughout the entire record Jehnny Beth uses her voice like this, with conviction and with different perspectives in her mind, which make it interesting and surprising every time a new track starts. Beth’s uncompromising way of dealing with often gloomy or delicate topics is something worth admiring, especially when the artist admits that she’s equally guilty of the bad stuff as well as the good. (8/10) (Alicja Rutkowska)

Listen to To Live Is To Love by Jehnny Beth here via Spotify, and tell us what you think below!

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