Elin Vallin – Nanana

Sunday, April 18, 2021


As those tentative yet sweepingly hopeful piano chords come in, you might think Nanana by Elin Vallin is just another Fight Song, the next iteration of some anthemic pop odyssey of trials and triumph. Luckily though, there are no “small boat”/”ocean” metaphors or “match”/”explosion” empowerments; only a reminder that whatever pain you’re feeling is temporary (“Know that these things (she breathes here, as if she’s trying to calm herself with evergreen air of a forest with you right beside her) never last”). The simplicity here is perfect: synth arpeggios outlining their own constellations above Vallin, who is torn between romance and rejection (“Falling in love but too scared to say it”), her falsetto toeing the line that separates fragility from freedom. When the climax comes with a canyonful of reverb, visceral and cathartic, it feels as if she’s soaring into an infinite sky, finally finding peace in letting go; if “Wild Geese” were translated into a song, this would be the defining moment. And yet, she comes back to Earth for the final word: “And promise when all of this is over, you’ll look back at the night it started, it was snowing.” Maybe we don’t need to come out victorious and on top in some fight; all we need is ourselves, the memories we carry with us, and the bliss of “Nanana.”


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