Song Review: "Vertigo" by Alice Merton
Short and stingy, “Vertigo” by Alice Merton leaves quite the impression on its listener. Kicking the song off with a whispered count, the track immediately enters a dark world of low, buzzing bass and a captivating vocalist. The bass and mechanical percussion move rather quickly in succession, navigating the listener through the twist and turns of a chaotic atmosphere that is painted by the singer’s tone. I knew that I loved the tasteful incorporation of the basic rhythm immediately, which rightfully injects the song with high energy.
Reassuring the apparent edge to this song, a noisy guitar begins to interject the established rhythm created by the other elements, sporadically inducing stressed power notes throughout. Collectively, the stark buzz of the instrumental makes the song feel like an angsty teen who is fed up with all of life’s demands. Already carrying a personality of its own, the instruments edge is further intensified by the paranoia set in by the vocalist. While the singer points toward stressful anticipation, I cannot help but recognize a deeper, more emotional component in the female’s voice. It's almost as if the singer seeks vengeance on the inconveniences of life but is too caught up battling the side effects to even get her revenge.
As a feeling of suspense surges through lyrics and the building of tense instruments, the song is almost suddenly interrupted by a somber bridge. The percussion flees the scene, leaving behind the vocalist and a pair of synths. The soft side of the singer reveals her vulnerable self, and the synths work together to produce a spaceless experience. But no matter how much you try to slow down or avoid getting bogged down by the stresses in life, a knocking sound, which interrupts the bridge’s floating feeling, reminds us that the chaos never stops. Looping back to one final energetic chorus, the recognizably noisy instruments rejoin the vocalist, complimenting her effortless rhythm as she spirals once more.
Often, the loss for sanity is simply an exchange for some of the greatest art and music.