by Annika Eske
Under the name “sir Was,” Swedish music artist Joel Wästberg released a new EP on the 28th of February. The EP follows the 2019 release of “Holding On to a Dream,” and serves as a dreamy segway into whatever the future may hold for sir Was.
The first song, also entitled “Letter,” comes in strong with a moveable beat and a dreamy atmosphere that is maintained through the following tracks. Initially, one hears the faint plucking of what sounds like a two-stringed Chinese fiddle – something like an erhu. This is paired with a staccato electric guitar loop which attractively accents the song’s percussion . The vocals in “Letter” indicate the style for the rest of the EP: Wästberg sounds like he is sharing a train of thought or a series of energetic musings. Cascades of fading delay effects gracefully hint at the conclusion of the song while an electric guitar solo packs the final punch.
The listener is then given a break with the piano and twinkly sounds of the second song, “Don’t Wait for Me.” After about three minutes of gradual build-up, sir Was begins to repeat the lyric “’cause I believe in you” with increasing strength. In general, the lyrics of this track are beautiful and resonate with listeners due to their broad simplicity. The components of the track give it the sound of an interlude, and take a step back from the danceable style of “Letter.” However, “Don’t Wait for Me” is unfortunately stretched thin over a duration of over five minutes.
Following this lengthy interlude, bells ring in the track “This Is My Bonus.” This track is wonderfully composed with a jangly beat and a catchy, rhythmic chorus. In fact, the chorus’ rhythmic quality comes from the fact that it consists of sentence fragments. Wästberg sings the lyrics, “get it, want it, need it, gotta have…”, which again sounds like a snippet of his thoughts. In the song Wästenberg also ponders some less ambiguous themes. He sings about chasing his own mind and “silly dreaming”. At one point Wästberg seems to assess his own ambitions saying, “I just wanna be somebody, somebody with money, fame, and glory/ I know it ain’t pretty”. Hence, with a variety of unclear sentence fragments and shockingly direct lines, “This Is My Bonus” provides much to think about. Finally, the instrumentation for the lower part of the song is crafted such that it adds a great deal of depth. The composition and lyrical choices of the song make it an obvious highlight of the EP.
Interestingly, sir Was uses a circular ending to conclude his EP. “Letter – Edit” is the final song, and seems to differ from “Letter” primarily in that it’s introduction is more of a fade-in than a steady build-up of layers. The similarity between the first and last songs of the EP may initially seem to feed into a frustrating repetition, but “Letter – Edit” is a surprisingly fitting conclusion. It neatly wraps up the EP with a sense of familiarity, and the satisfaction that a circular ending is meant to provide.