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  • Conner Pettit

Review: "i think the world was better without me in it" - Ponette

Love holds a universal gravity, feeling grounding from afar, yet all-consuming and disastrous up close. Norwegian singer Ponette speaks to this in her newly released single “I think the world was better without me in it”, touching on how love can be just that: complex. Using digitally flavored pop vocals, reminiscent of a teenage coming-of-age story, she recounts her experiences in a dying relationship and the pain that follows. The song proceeds with the lyric “I can’t tell you I don’t love you,” speaking directly to the person she cherished, albeit the one who left hard feelings of insignificance, vulnerability, and confusion. Whether it be romantic, familial, or friendship-related, we have all likely felt exposed, compelled to clutch something no longer serving us, hurt by unspoken rejection, and determined to fight against the pain’s apparent weight. While listening, I could vividly imagine a movie’s main protagonist running across their school hallway, tears streaming down their cheeks, a smile slowly forming, Ponette playing in the background, leaving viewers contemplative, reminiscing their own heartbreak moment, feeling angsty yet understood.

The song begins with a plucky, pop-rock guitar, emoting feelings of angst and romance, progressing with a low-fi-type beat and digitally toned production. The lyrics gain momentum using subtle vocal distortions and 80s,90s-inspired backing harmonies, repeating the main title lyric throughout, similar to how we often repeat certain messages to ourselves, creating endless, negative thought loops. The song carries over into an upbeat, synth-driven chorus with a dancey, energetic quality to it. The track as a whole gives a lighter feeling to the painful experience described, encouraging the listener to own yet shed the sadder feelings!

Led by vocalist Helene Svaland, the four-member electronica band has been gaining ground musically since their debut release “I’m Alone” in 2016. Originally from Norway, the group—aptly named after the 1996 French film, describing a young girl’s story of love and loss—combines a whirry, post-apocalyptic soundscape with Helene’s distinctive vocals. Paralleling contemporary artists, like Aurora and Ellie Goulding, Helene sets her songs against a darker, industrial landscape, a sound that has garnered the group 81K monthly Spotify listeners and wide acclaim for tales of grief-stricken romance. Combined with glitchy synths, lyrical repetition, and pop-rock instrumentation, the group infuses intimacy often difficult to achieve in electronic music. From their earlier songs, like “Hours”, to the more stripped back “Losing me”, featuring low humming and poignant harmonies, Ponette balances intensity and intention within their songs, forwarding Helene’s stories of love and heartbreak. I am excited to see how their music evolves, knowing they signify an exciting shift towards “Nude” vulnerability in mainstream electronic music!

Written By: Conner Pettit



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