When I was 15 I loved The Phantom of the Opera. I listened to the soundtrack A LOT. My passion for that score spilled over to other Victorian monster musicals–Jekyll & Hyde, Ken Hill’s the Phantom of the Opera. I also listened to the Smiths a lot.
If I had heard Norway’s “A Monster Like Me” when I was 15, I would have totally obsessed over it.
“A Monster Like Me” was written by singer-songwriter Mørland. Mørland was the front man of Absent Elk, a British indie rock band that sounded like Hard-Fi and released a couple singles in 2009 that didn’t go anywhere on the UK charts. He is now pursuing a solo career in Norway. He is joined by Debrah Scarlett, a Norwegian-Swiss singer who competed on The Voice Norway 2013 under her real name Joanna Bussinger. The song has a stripped down arrangement and uses negative space to depict alienation and regret. There’s a triumphant point at the 2:15 mark, where the two hit their big notes in harmony and the camera does this dizzying spinning trick around them.
Unfortunately, I am not 15 anymore. Now, all I hear is a melodramatic ballad full of angst and self-pity. It’s utterly sincere in its intention. With “A Monster Like Me,” I feel this visceral need to inject satire, slap it in the face, something, anything to snap it out of its pathetic, self-serving funk. Ironically, Forgetting Sarah Marshall already did it back in 2008 with the Dracula song:
Timing is everything I guess.