Fleurie – Love and War
It was quite apt for Fleurie to subtitle Love and War ‘my cinematic songs collection,” as many of the tracks are evocative of those rare moments in a person’s life when they are swept away by an emotional current, almost feeling as if they’re living inside of a movie. Much has been written about how entertainment narratives are formed by life events, but a topic rarely touched on is how the living emotional center of a person is shaped by artificial drama on a movie screen. A construct is made authentic as it is filtered through the lens of human experience, evoking entirely different reactions than it was intended to. These are private, personal moments framed in Hollywood soundtrack appeal.
Love and War contains four new tracks and four tracks used in various film and television projects, and one would think that the film tracks would stand out immediately as soundtrack staples tend to be less than subtle, but they blend together with a modest ease. The title track with its spare piano and Fleurie’s somber line delivery is a rainy-day meditation on lovers turned enemies. Conceptually, about a billion songs have been written about this, but the urgency of Fleurie’s voice and lines like “Sing like hollow lullabies. You and I, always in disguises” bring to mind images of the beloved and nemesis taking on one another’s identities and wearing them like elaborate outfits, suffering through more drama until they can thankfully be themselves again.
Another track that hits that perfect wheelhouse of ecovative melancholy is ‘Soldier.’ Fluerie has a knack for spare openings that sound like she’s singing out instructions meant for sets of hidden ears that we’ve only discovered by accident. The songs escalate but it’s these quiet private moments that are unnerving, because maybe the person she’s trying to reach is one of us. ‘Can You Hear Me?’ is another one in that particular style, except it lasts the whole of the song.
It’s odd that simplicity is not an easy approach in “one singer/one voice/emotional hooks” type music but many musicians go for elaborate instrumentation and overly poetic limits out of fear of seeming generic. ‘Hurts Like Hell’ might be my favorite track on the entire album because of how it very simply and with perfect finesse hits emotional chords that resonate universally with anyone who has ever cared deeply for someone and had to mentally compartmentalize the trainwreck that followed. Fleurie speaks the quiet thoughts we hate to voice out loud: “I don’t want them to know the secret. I don’t want them to know the way I loved you. I don’t think they understand it. I don’t think they would accept me, no”