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Sondre Lerche: A Tinge Of Something Cynical

Norwegian singer-songwriter Sondre Lerche has been writing songs — and good ones at that — since he was 14. Now 26, Lerche has recorded five albums, the latest of which is Heartbeat Radio.

Listen carefully to the lead-off track, "Good Luck," and beneath a seemingly happy tune lies a tinge of something cynical. "Good luck, don't you feel so bad," Lerche croons mellifluously, before adding, "Just don't get your hopes up." Written after what Lerche describes as a particularly rough year, the song mixes upbeat consolation with grim realism.

Near the end of "Good Luck," a string section enters and creates a lush, sonic hurricane that drenches the song. A wonderfully chaotic arrangement, it's the result of jazz musician Erik Halvorsen improvising on the piano over the chorus. Lerche picked the bits he liked and had them transcribed for violin and cello. Call it good luck or skill — it was a smart move — but the results are fantastic.

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