Stream Jenny Hval's 'Ashes To Ashes' From Her New Album 'The Practice Of Love' On the first single from The Practice of Love, out Sept. 13, the avant-pop provocateur Jenny Hval channels '90s pop, from early Robyn and Everything But the Girl to Sophie B. Hawkins.
NPR logo Jenny Hval Announces New Album 'The Practice Of Love,' Shares 'Ashes To Ashes'

Jenny Hval Announces New Album 'The Practice Of Love,' Shares 'Ashes To Ashes'

Jenny Hval's new album, The Practice of Love, also features the voices of Vivian Wang, Laura Jean Englert and Félicia Atkinson. Lasse Marhaug/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Lasse Marhaug/Courtesy of the artist

Jenny Hval's new album, The Practice of Love, also features the voices of Vivian Wang, Laura Jean Englert and Félicia Atkinson.

Lasse Marhaug/Courtesy of the artist

On the edges and sometimes in the center of Jenny Hval's provocative avant-pop music, there's always been a bold vulnerability. The Norwegian musician constantly pushes the form, herself and her audience to examine complacency and identity, culminating in 2016's noisy, synth-driven Blood Bitch.

But with the first single from The Practice of Love, Hval indulges some comfort food. With a delicate sheen of trance-lite pop — the kind of rainy-night nostalgia heard on late-night Top-40 radio in the mid-'90s — "Ashes to Ashes" looks back to early Robyn, Everything But the Girl and Sophie B. Hawkins' still oh-so-good "As I Lay Me Down" as sonic and spiritual guides.

Hval must know that those airy hits of yesteryear contained a darkness within, lonely meditations decorated by arpeggiated synths. "She had this dream about a song," she sings, setting the tone. "She was certain that it was about a burial, the ritual beautifully written / Even the groove was filled with sadness."

Even in her newfound sweetness, there's a yearning to "put two fingers in the earth," dig her own grave "in the honeypot" and find her mortality.

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The Practice of Love comes out Sep. 13 via Sacred Bones.