by Gemma Laurence
Vivacious, energetic, and more than a little tongue-in-cheek, Lou Roy lives by the mantra ‘joy is king!’ And it tracks – the Californian alt-pop artist makes music that is filled to the brim with joy; it overflows from her lyrics, her poppy sonic palette, and her energetic storytelling. It seeps into every line and measure, creating a carefree listening experience that allows listeners to forget about their worries altogether. And her latest single, Valkyrie, (the artist’s first release off of Balloon Machine), is no exception.
If Fiona Apple were to collaborate with Sylvan Esso on a song about Norse mythology, it might sound something a little like Valkyrie. Quirky, upbeat, and a little sassy, it’s an off-kilter alt pop jam inspired by (in Lou’s words) ‘the female figures in Norse mythology who ride horses through the sky with big, long swords and are very sick,’ who she summons ‘to slay all those fuckers who have hurt me in the past.’ Iconic much? Just listen to the track – the playful twist of comedy and wit adds an extra layer to the otherwise irresistibly catchy indie pop jam. Combining breathy harmonies with catchy synth melodies, found sounds, and an eclectic variety of textures, the world of Valkyrie matches the many moods of the song.
Co-produced by Lou Roy and Sarah Tudzin (Illuminati Hotties), the song is not all fun and games; using humor to tackle the trauma of her past, Roy delves into deeper matters with an uplifting lilt. On the track, she shares: ‘The song began with me tapping my water bottle while listening to my buddies have a conversation around me. It was called water bottle birthday beat for months, until one night in July I got high and decided to just put the beat on loop and improvise lyrics. I had a panic attack a few days before, and had recounted that in the opening line, and from there I just decided to go stream of consciousness based on that. Apparently, I was feeling angry and vengeful – the rest of what came out was all about embracing rage.
‘Then in a sudden shift of perspective, I noticed I wanted peace and quiet and asked myself, “hey man, whatcha doin? Come on back, I need you movin!” It was a gentle request to please not be so upset, I’m scaring me!’
Tackling trauma and rage with a lighthearted touch, Loy Roy’s latest single hits the perfect balance between levity and depth.
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