Aside from its astonishing views of the northern lights, Norway’s small town of Tromso has a secret — pop songstress Dagny.
Best-known for being the melodic and lyrical inspiration behind Katy Perry’s 2019 pop song “Never Really Over,” Dagny is one of pop music’s most up-and-coming vocalists. Hailing from a Scandinavian gold mine of eclectic pop artists like Tove Lo and ABBA, it will not come as a surprise that Dagny perfectly encapsulates the best aspects of the pop genre with her lyricism and diverse melodies.
Dagny’s ability to borrow elements from past eras of pop music, while still adding a modern flair is what separates her from many other mainstream pop acts. She is a pop chameleon in the sense that she has explored everything from ’70s disco to ’80s synth-pop to 2010s eurodance in her small but impactful discography of 22 solo tracks released since 2011.
Dagny often utilizes a calculated pop music technique known as one-note melodies to construct catchy songs. Created by having one note surrounded by various harmonies, Dagny crafts beautiful and wavering vocal backdrops for her songs. These one-note melodies, coupled with her easily recountable but emotionally impactful lyrics and pulsating pop production, are the key components of any Dagny track, as well as, more broadly, any perfect pop song.
For example, her song “Used to You,” highlights how the excitement levels in a relationship stagnate after passing the initial honeymoon phase. Sonically, the song feels like a cathartic release of frustration, confusion and regret as the lyrics and explosive pop production of the one-note melodies hook the listener before they even finish their first listen.
Dagny questions whether her and her partner’s newfound lack of emotional and physical connection is really caused by true feelings for each other. The track feels like a page ripped out of Dagny’s diary, with each new thought scribbling out the last, an almost chaotic assortment of insecure introspection.
At its core, Dagny’s discography explores the inner workings of young, chaotic love. She takes vulnerable experiences and makes them into relatable tracks for all of her listeners through the use of simple yet impactful lyricism that often revolves around figurative language.
On her 2016 track “Fool’s Gold,” she compares what she thought was going to be a long-lasting relationship to fool’s gold after it abruptly ended in disaster. This clever and effective way of lyrically explaining how the pair of star-crossed lovers felt before their toxic demise allows the track’s production and Dagny’s vocal performance to take the form of an epic emotional release.
My personal favorite Dagny song is “Coast to Coast,” a stripped down ballad from her near-pop perfection debut album “Strangers / Lovers.” The song tells the gut-wrenching tale of a woman’s denial of her husband’s sudden disappearance at sea. The subject of the song tells her lover: “I’ll come and find you / Coast to Coast / Oh, I’ll keep searching for you my love / From coast to coast.” Again, Dagny’s lyricism showcases the power of simple yet emotionally impactful lines in a song.
“Coast to Coast” also exists as a double meaning, as the immediate interpretation of the track is about the husband lost at sea, while to me the other reading is about a partner that suddenly ends a relationship and then vanishes from life. This unexpected turn of events leaves people feeling emotionally paralyzed and unable to fully process or move past the breakup. It is a haunting tale of lost love that depicts Dagny’s artistry in a whole new light.
Dagny’s vocal performance on “Coast to Coast” is incredible, proving she does not need any gaudy vocal production to enhance her voice. The track is the perfect swan song for her debut album, revealing that Dagny has a bright future.
Looking ahead, Dagny is poised to become more mainstream in the pop music industry. Her unique and catchy beats paired with the relatable and striking lyricism present throughout her discography promise great potential for new music and growth in the future.
**Highlights: “Used to You,” “Bye Bye Baby,” “Come Over,” “Coast to Coast,” “More, More, More,” “Fool’s Gold,” “Backbeat,” “Somebody,” “Coulda Woulda Shoulda”