SoKo Live

I already wrote about my crush on Soko.

Last Tuesday, I went to a show in my hometown Rotterdam. To be honest, I didn’t know what to expect. The show she gave a few days earlier in Brussels got both enthusiastic and negative reviews and last week she cancelled a few shows in  France because of illness and depressions so it could be good or bad.

Soko came on stage and told us we would start with a surprise act. Her brother Maxime sang two songs, while Soko herself was singing backing vocals and playing drums.

After that Luke Rathborne came on stage. He is a singer-songwriter from New York and also member of Soko’s band, and he wasn’t bad but not very impressive and struggled with the problem of this venue: people chatting to each other instead of listening.

And then Soko came on stage… What followed was a two hour long show, and a rollercoaster of emotions. Soko and her band members (Luke, Gillian McGuire on bass guitar, violin and backing vocals), ran around the stage, changed instruments and gave the impression they were all making it up on the spot.

We saw Soko singing very sad songs (“can I do another very a sad song or do you already want to kill yourself?”), was chitchatting with public (“I love you Danish people! Oh, not Danish, no. Dutch. But I’m dyslectic. Do you mind calling you Hollandish?”).
She played mostly new songs and almost her entire album. No songs from her earlier period when she had a minor hit with “I kill her”.
Surprisingly the songs with other her band members were the best with “People Always Look Better in the Sun” as one of the highlights of the evening.
There also was a therapeutic number “Destruction Of The Disgusting Ugly Hate” sang by Soko from behind the drum kit, which sounded like an early French punk song.

The last half hour of the show was for singalong with the audience, inviting people on stage (“You are so hot, may I touch your boobs”?)  and asking about the legal status of touching boobs of a 19 year old girl “Is that underage here?”).

After the last song she said that she was available for free hugs “like now”, stepped off the stage and walked through the public to the back of the venue, where the merch was.

It still is hard to describe. But after seeing her live, I can’t think about the fact that it is just real. Soko is a young woman who likes to be on the podium, sharing her emotions with her audience and loves to perform. And maybe it is not that “good’ but at least it was enjoyable fun and entertaining. And maybe that is what music is about…

Here’s a rare clip of Soko singing in French.


I can’t help it. Really. It is stronger than myself. But I love Soko. She first appeared on this blog in 2008 (see?), she became a minor hype, then she disappeared, and now she’s back with her first album: “I thought I was an Alien”. Video of the title song is available here. And again: I love it.
It’s not that she’s a brilliant singer (kinda thin), or that she has world shocking lyrics (kinda naive), or that she is musically very interesting (kinda dull).
But what is it then? Is it that “French-ladies-singing-in-franglish” accent? Yes, that is a huge part of the attraction. It is downright lovely. Is it ’cause she’s cute? You bet.
But there must be more, too. I think it is also something like originality, or even authenticity. It all sounds so honest. Soko’s a young woman who sings about what is on her mind, as if she is talking to you after a night out.
To give an example of what I mean, listen to a song like “Happy Hippie birthday”. It starts like a happy birthday song for a friend, but you can hear that the tone changed while she was writing the song.  She realised that he is much older and that the age difference is exactly like it was between her parents. You can say it is a bit messy song-writing, but I don’t care. It sounds real and authentic to me.

And yes, maybe I get easily deceived. Maybe Soko’s prefab, made up by a clever svengali.
But still, I can’t help it. I love Soko.

Soko – Happy Hippie Birthday


Remember Soko? The French actress/singer who gained popped up in 2007 as “one of those artists  gaining popularity through the internet?” Her “I Kill Her” even became a hit in Belgium and Denmark. You know, The Soko who sang in English with a very heavy French Accent (“Ai Kiell Uhr”), that some people love?  But the success as a singer didn’t last. Only an EP was released (“Not Sokute”) and in January 2009 she used her Myspace site that made her popular to declare herself “dead”. She dissapeared from the music scene, disappointed with “the music industry”..

Last year there was a sign of a comeback when she participated in the newest Nouvelle Vague project en now she is back. Or at least we hope she is. She finished her album but it will be only released in February next year, because she has a film career too that is asking her attention.
But what is known so far is wonderful. First there was this “official” video of “No More Home, No More Love”, with gives us a glimpse of the Soko we knew. Now there is a new song included in the French magazine “Les Inrockuptibles” and it is very nice. The accent is still there but the sound is different. Think sixties, girl groups  and add some electronica.  Her new album will be something to look forward too.

Soko – Just Want To Make It New With You