Aneta Langerová: Na Radosti

May 29, 2016


Tempered Joy

Listening Post 49. There’s mystery and tension between the title of Aneta Langerová’s fourth album Na Radosti (On Joy) and its brooding, nostalgic tone. Mixing a pop sensibility with folkloric tropes and narratives, Langerová—one of the leading Czech singer-songwriters—uses her hypnotic and ravishing voice to evoke timeless Bohemian forests and meadows and tell elemental stories, reflected in titles like Bride, Virgin, Wild Flocks, Ease, and Words from the Mountains. Tráva (Grass) is a dreamlike poem drawn from a girl’s memory: “My new home is heather, moss and grass/I’ll be there where blue cornflowers bloom,” she sings (video 1). The clouds darken in Tragédie u nas na vsi (Tragedy in Our Village), in which a man murders a girlfriend who doesn’t love him anymore: “Now running, out of breath, feeling cold sweat in the cold fields,” says the narrative, as a search party pursues the killer, “he remembers his sweetheart, guilt dragging him down” (video 2). Langerová’s voice is at its most tender and arresting in Dívka (Girl), a story of self-acceptance despite being “different”(video 3). Collaborating with composer and keyboardist Jakub Zitko, Langerová creates moods that express as much as her lyrics. Even when the tempo quickens, as in the whistling of Bříza (Birch) or the guitar cadences of Maják (Lighthouse), the album maintains its nuanced ambience. You don’t have to understand Czech to appreciate that the joys in Na Radosti are tempered but stunning—and that they stir the spirit. (Art Shock s.r.o.)






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