The Fatal Magic of GDRN’s “Af og til”


There’s a dilemma that comes with every really good song. One wants, on the one hand, to listen to the song over and over again, to drink in its melody, to soak up its lyrics, to immerse oneself in the full poignancy of its emotional soundscape. On the other hand, however, one realizes that such an indulgence comes at a price. In the event that one cannot restrain oneself, the song quickly becomes familiar, then trite, and then one’s appetite cloys—and things are never quite the same again. 

This dilemma is unusually strong with GDRN’s Af og til, which the Icelandic songstress debuted last Friday on Vikan með Gísla Marteini (see video above).

Dressed in a black crop top and mint-green bell bottoms, her hair in a low bun, GDRN swayed in the blue spotlight as a preliminary two-loop drum break gave way to an oily bass line. A guitarist, who bore—and probably still bears—a striking resemblance to Lionel Messi, let his guitar dance softly over the deep funk, before GDRN’s sultry, unaffected voice insinuated itself into the instrumentation (sort of like a deft waiter who had leaned over one’s shoulder and, while one wasn’t looking, sprinkled a layer of Parmesan on one’s plate of creamy ravioli, or something). The bridge, lightly adorned with elements of g-funk, was perfect in its sweetness, and served to propel the song’s fine crescendo upward. All of it culminated in an irresistible chorus, dedicated to that best of emotions. Love. Finally, this symphony of delight was capped with a surprising scratch-drop (01:18)—which I am now utterly obsessed with—and which reset the drama for one more round of aural ecstasy. 


In retrospect, the song’s irresistible nature was exacerbated by its brevity. At just over two-and-a-half minutes, one cannot help but to replay it over and over again.

As you can no doubt tell, I have not been able to resist the song’s magic ever since. I can feel the song’s charm slip through my fingers.  

I have killed it with my love. 

Words: RTH