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Album Review: Soko – My Dreams Dictate My Reality

2 min read

On her FB page she (ironically?) claims that her “influence” is her own depression. And sad-but-apparently-upbeat music like The Cure’s is a huge influence indeed. As it is early 80s period in general. My Dreams Dictate My Reality is French rocker Soko’s second album. Very different from her first one, I Thought I Was An Alien, released three years ago. While the latter was dominated by loneliness and a sense of despair, while the former has a more energetic sound, (Violent Femmes, anyone?) although its lyrics still deal with Soko’s demons and wounds from her broken childhood (she lost her father when she was 5).

SOKO MyDreamsDictateMyRealityIn the dreamy, goth-inspired title track she sings “my dreams dictate my reality/ my dreams reflect my insanity/ and I am frightened as I can be/ for I no longer know what’s reality” and a long instrumental middle part follows these words, echoing The Cure’s Disintegration. Opener I Come In Peace is a hypnotic ballad whose first seconds remind me of a sort of middle way between early Morcheeba records and XX’s debut. The first single, Who Wears the Pants??, evidently inspired by post-punk and fuelled in with some traces of Likke Li, is a gay rights anthem and was described by Soko “the most lesbian song I wrote”. After all, you might remember her participation in Tatia Pilieva’s viral First Kiss video, in which indeed she kissed another girl. In My Precious she makes me think of a 21st century Siouxsie, while Temporary Mood Swings, with its upbeat tempo and semi-screamed vocals, remind me of English rock band The Long Blondes. Bad Poetry is another ballad, with Cure-style guitars and hints of shoegaze. Lovetrap is an irresistible duet with friend and fellow Los Angeles-based musician Ariel Pink. It even features an irresistible spoken, whispered part that makes the listener feel like an intruder in an intimate moment.

Soko first found fame in 2007, with her sung-spoken killer song (sorry for the play on words) I’ll kill her. But she is not your average pop musician. Apart from being a chanteuse, she is an accomplished actress. To mention one, she is the voice of Isabella in the controversial film HER by Spike Jonze. She has even appeared in the Spring campaign for Roberto Cavalli – her face can be found anywhere in New York city. However, she states that music is her first love. And although in an old song she said that she lacked talent, her tracks have their own kind of (80s) magic, thanks to her producer, too – Ross Robinson (The Cure).