• Artist: Anna Leone 
  • Genre: Soul 
  • Best Tracks: “Still I Wait”, “Once”, “Do You Ever” 
  • Weakest Track: “Wondering” 
  • Release date: October 10, 2021 
  • Duration: 30 min 30 sec 

Swedish singer Anna Leone has released her much anticipated debut album, ‘I’ve Felt All These Things’. The soul singer first gained fame with her single “My Soul I” in 2017 and then an EP ‘Wandered Away’ next year. 

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The new album somewhat adheres to the sounds that she has come to be known for: a husky and deep voice recalling painful moments to what is usually an acoustic guitar, or minimal instrumentation. 

The album’s lead single, and first major track on the list, is “Once”. Leone sings from the perspective of a jaded woman who used to be naive and full of hope, but is now disappointed and filled with regrets. Maybe even shame. It is relatable for anyone who was that ‘smart overachieving kid’ back in the simpler days, or raised to think they will rule the world, only to be hit with the reality of an unfair world. It’s a beautiful track that needs to be checked out if not the entire record. 

The twenty six-year old then presents us with “Still I Wait”, another strong and emotionally resonant track. Every music artist needs a characteristic by which they can be identified, whether it is an addictive tune, serving looks or by tapping into that shock factor. Leone falls under the category of The Poet where it is the power of the pen that makes you recognized.

Her lyrics in “Still I Wait” and “Remember” are by far the most heart-breaking and emotionally turbulent. The young artist pines for companionship, mourns her loneliness and examines her Self’s lack of energy. The introvert (Anna) watches the world go by, a world that is falling in and out of love, sparking and resolving drama, all without Anna’s help.

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The daydreamer observes all of this from the outside. She is curious, intrigued even, by the rituals of her young peers. But her body and soul cannot be moved to join into the trends. As they say, “the mind is willing but the flesh is weak”. That feeling of inertia is the key theme to much of Anna’s music.

As she wails with her heart-touchingly tender voice: “When will I bear my soul? Oh, when will I love someone? I thought I knew the rules”. “Will I ever fall into that deep, intense love that people seem to be doing” is a frequent question in this album. It’s terribly resonant for young people these days. In a time when the internet gives us information on anything and everything, it is so common to be jaded. The work hours can get hectic and take up all of the time. Moreover, the situation of the world (like the climate crisis) has filled us with a mix of fear, disillusion and despair. There’s barely a place in our lives for the fairytale-like feet-sweeping romance that we grew up watching on the screens. So it’s only natural that people grow up feeling like they’re missing out on something. In that way, ‘I’ve Felt…’ is a coming-of-age album for Generation Internet. 

An artist who comes to mind when listening to Anna’s painfully relatable words would be the great Mitski. She is another artist known for examining loneliness, alienation and the craving of love and touch. Both Anna Leone and Mitski are women of colour from two societies which are white-dominated and idealize Euro-centric features.

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Mitski is a half-Japanese and half-white woman from the US while Anna Leone is a dark skinned WOC from Stockholm. Added to this, Anna has mentioned being gay. That’s a lot of reasons for Leone to feel like an outsider. That sense of isolation certainly reverberates in the music, even though Anna never directly tackles orientation or race. 

The feeling of a heavy weight feels lifted mid-record when we finally get some space to breathe with “Do You Ever”. The instrumentation here is grander with a more heightened sense of drama which gives us a much needed emotional release. We haven’t heard a drama of such scale from Leone since “If You Only” in 2018. 

‘I’ve Felt All These Things’ is a sad and mournful record. But it isn’t devastating or hopeless. It is cathartic and comforting. Leone was supposed to release this album by September 8 but it was delayed due to the singer’s worsening depression. “I have highs and lows and sometimes I’m very functioning, but most of the time it’s very intense, internally,” she said on an Insta post. 

As the saying goes, when you are hurt, speak about it. Speaking out or coming to terms with your most painful moments is the first step to healing. With this record, Anna and the people who are touched deeply by her music, can begin their journey to heal, forgive and find closure. Meanwhile, those who don’t quite feel like they’re in the pits can also enjoy this record like a warm hug in preparation for the coming days of winter.

Stream ‘I’ve Felt All These Things’ on Spotify.

Listen to the album on YouTube.

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