With the advent of iTunes and streaming platforms, many music consumers nowadays only listen to a few tracks off an album. It's a true art form to create a record that adheres to one concept stemming from an artist's particular vision, and these are the best ones to listen to from start to finish. Swedish singer Frida Sundemo's debut album, Flashbacks & Futures, is a mesmerizing work of art that is captivating in its entirety. A record inspired by space, the individual tracks work together to create one cohesive piece, like many individual stars in a single constellation.
Flashbacks & Futures opens with "Prelude," a synth-driven, instrumental track that sets the dreamy landscape and builds up into "Flashbacks & Futures." The eponymous track introduces listeners to the rest of the album's ethereal quality. Building upon the soaring splendor of previously released singles, "We Are Dreamers," "It's OK," and "Gold," many of the tracks on album are rooted in the quintessence of Scandinavian synth. Sundemo's piercing, pure voice serves to fit with the cosmic theme of the album. From the wistful "We Are Dreamers" to the mellow "Astronaut," the titles of the songs also fall in line.
But beyond the lyrics and words, the album's production has an otherworldy quality about it that contributes to the intergalactic aspect of the music. With the idea of space, Sundemo incorporates a breadth of sound, exploring regions between electro-pop sounds and more classically orchestral notes. Some songs sound weightless and effortless, relinquishing any holds our worries and gravity have on us. Other tracks play to bittersweet feelings of loneliness and wonder, making us appreciate just how small we are in the vast universe.
Prior to the release of the album, Sundemo dropped a music video for "Gold." Sundemo is seen wearing an astronaut suit, shining a flashlight into the darkness of the unknown. The haunting visuals match the wistful quality of the song. "Gold" is about both the mystery and beauty of life, and the video pairs seamlessly with this theme of exploration - both in an emotional sense as well as a physical, environmental sense. The orchestral and synth build up that opens the track is almost reminiscent of the beginning of a movie, and the masterfully crafted visuals in the video likewise take us through a complete narrative.
The album and visuals take us on a journey, truly like movie would. Inspiration comes from many different places, so we asked Sundemo to share some of her favorite space-themed films:
2001: A Space Odyssey
A real treat for the eye. I would watch that film over and over again even without a story, just because it's so beautiful.
I love the contrasts between the lonely and hopeless and the light and the hopeful. How something good can come out from a bad place.
I love it how it messes with your mind and sense of time. The scene when the crew have gotten back to the ship after 50 years, and they watch all the video messages is just devastating and amazing at the same time. I feel like that's how life is. Suddenly you'll wake up realizing that all your life passed, and you didn't know how it happened. It's a good reminder to try and take care of every day.
I don't really like everything about this film, and I find the story a little one dimensioned. But I love its interpretation of loneliness. Sometimes I feel like all of us are as lonely in this world as the main character is in the space ship. You'll never be fully and completely understood by another human being. That's a little sad but also a bit relieving I think, when you accept it.
No words needed.
Likewise, no further words are needed to describe the beauty of this album. Stream Flashbacks & Futures below: