Amber Arcades – European Heartbreak

Released: 28th September 2018

Rating: 4/5

Best tracks: Goodnight Europe, Self Portrait In a Car At Night, Baby Eternity


 In the ongoing turmoil of Brexit, we have heard a hundred and one songs from British artists about their (mostly upset and angry) feelings towards leaving the EU. From Bastille changing the lyrics of their hit Pompeii to ‘the pound keeps tumbling down’ in their BBC Live Lounge back in 2016, to the new indie band Goat Girl ranting about their anger at the Tory party in their song Burn the Stake, many British artists have expressed their views on the current political situation. However, the tables have now turned in the new album European Heartbreak from Dutch singer Amber Arcades, as we hear what life is like on the other side of the ocean, from our European neighbours we are bidding farewell to.

European Heartbreak is a breakup album with Europe, and Amber Arcades (also known as Annelotte de Graaf), ex legal aide for the UN, is full of remorse and heartache about the state of the EU. With lyrics referring to her sadness throughout the album, such as ‘it doesn’t matter what you do / nothing will stay the same’ on opening track Simple Song, and ‘This can’t be the end / I feel so alien, uninvolved / It’s just something new / Something to get used to’ on I’ve Done My Best.

However, it’s the appropriately titled song Goodnight Europe where de Graaf really shows her emotions about the sorry state of the EU. In this ode to Europe, Amber Arcades wistfully sings the lyrics ‘Goodnight Europe, no one really got you / I suppose it’s hardly a protest / but I’m sad to see you go / Europe I’m sorry.’ In this mellow song, she also mentions her ‘left ideals’ and how she now feels ‘all alone in the Eurozone’, almost as if she feels isolated in her political opinion, and is struggling to understand the decision by Britain: ‘everyone got bored and moved along / Now I’m left here, wondering if I still belong.’

Despite the slight morose feel to the album, I really like the way she has expressed her feelings to the listeners. She’s not been very subtle, but because European Heartbreak is tragic rather than angry or aggressive, it’s much more tasteful to the ear. Amber Arcades is upset and confused, but still accepting the situation as it is.

This album has a lovely sound and flow to it, full of airy pop songs that very strongly resemble the sound of Canadian band Alvvays. The album is brought to a sleepy ending in the Lana Del Rey sounding song Baby, Eternity. Overall, European Heartbreak is fantastically relevant, full of absolutely beautiful vocals throughout. An album that I would urge all to listen to, no matter what box you ticked on your ballot paper in the referendum.

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