“Full of Fire,” is not the most pleasant song. The beats over the first handful of bars may channel fun-time new wave of the ’80s (you can mash up “Mickey,” if that’s your thing), but they’re coarse and clawing for your skin. When the electronics are first added to the mix in little bits and drips, they elicit a similar reaction. Think images of rotting and decaying flesh, like the ones Trent Reznor would project during his live shows with Nine Inch Nails. Later, Karin Dreijer Andersson’s vocals, when they do kick in, channel the wicked witch of your childhood nightmares, only adding to the general unpleasantness.
The video isn’t that necessarily comforting, either. Everyone, even the grandmas, walks as if they have a secret and everyone appears emaciated by street drugs or hunger or despair or some combination of the three. And here I thought Sweden’s social democracy took care of their own.
And yet, there’s little doubt The Knife’s “Full of Fire,” is an important song. The duo’s stature has grown exponentially since their last proper album, 2006’s Silent Shout. Plus, over the track’s nine-plus minutes, they position themselves as an antidote to the big bass drop, party music popular with today’s electronic music crowd. Contrary to popular narratives, electronic music isn’t just for getting blissed and blitzed. Other emotions come into play, even deep, overreaching paranoia. The Knife’s Shaking the Habitual will be out April 9th on Mute Records. Preorders are up at The Knife’s website.