At now 28 years old, the (not-so) sweet SoKo takes a noticeable turn in her career.
After a first record called I Thought I Was an Alien, she’s back with a whole new style, somehow bringing back the raw and less dreamy 80s punk.
I discovered SoKo when I was 18. She was just a couple of years older than me. I saw her play in this random French movie and decided to check out the music she made. I immediately fell in love with her universe, her shy TV appearances and her immeasurable love for Daniel Johnston.
I remember her singing in a ridiculously small bar in Pigalle (north of Paris) and battling with the noise of the coffee machine on the stage. We had to contort in order to see her but it was all worth it. Something in her broken voice, her clumsy guitar chords and her jokes was touching.
A lot has happened since them. Her first album, I Wish I Was An Alien, was this mix of eerie and sad-but-comforting songs. It was a blend of old and new material, and you felt like her whole world was contained in this 15-track CD.
This second album, titled My Dreams Dictate My Reality, is breaking away from sweet and nice nostalgic music into a more punkish raw and angry album. Or so it seems. Times have definitely changed.
After reading a lot of interviews on her, one thing was slightly annoying me. I knew all about the media buzz surrounding her “First Kiss” video, her sexuality, and her sudden stardom. Curiously though, nothing in her music showed this. I decided to forget about all that and just listen to the album without prejudice.
To my surprise, the beginning of this new in-your-face/The Cure-style music was disappointing me a bit. The first 10 minutes of listening made me want to stop and go back to listen to all of her old tunes. But I forced myself to continue and I’m glad I did.
I was scared that she lost her style and sensitivity but I soon realised that she was the same person delivering the same messages and ideas, only with a new musical approach. Sure it’s a more brutal one. A not-so-hidden part of her personality? But it’s true that whatever SoKo does, she does it fully.
“Who Wears The Pants” at the beginning of the record is an 80s feminist punk tune. And gradually the music changes, becoming less angry and more nostalgic with songs like “Vision” and “Keaton’s Song”. Keaton being her former crush and an amazing musician, by the way. I believe his song “Sweetheart, What Have You Done To Us” is his response to SoKo’s ballad. Oh my, let the emotion begin.
“Monster Love” and “Lovetrap” are two of my favourite songs because it features her buddy Ariel Pink, who we all love so much.
With a huge change of style—musically and physically—this obvious fan of The Smiths has come a long way. Between fiction and reality, the lyrics of her new album tell us this story of a nostalgic girl who doesn’t want to grow up. Produced by Ross Robinson (who also worked with The Cure unsurprisingly) My Dreams Dictate My Reality is brutally honest.
After some reflection, I wasn’t ready to let go of my love for this lady and had to admit that change pares well with honesty. However, being a real nostalgic myself, I wanted to finish this article with a former tune that I cherish. Here is the cutest song ever featuring the amazing Matthew Gray Gubler, for old time sakes.
Hometown: Bordeaux, France.
Latest album: My Dreams Dictate My Reality, released 2 March 2015.
Sounds like: Keaton Henson, Ariel Pink, The Do
Say what? SoKo is also an actress and previously used her real name, Stéphanie Sokolinski, for her credited roles. She has starred in the films Bye Bye Blondie and Augustine, which was nominated at the Cannes Film Festival in 2012.
Amicalement vôtre, Charlotte.