Fever Ray and Yves Tumor
Fever Ray photo by Nina Andersson, Yves Tumor photo by Jordan Hemingway

The Subversive Power of Fever Ray and Yves Tumor

In this episode of the Pitchfork Review podcast, our critics discuss new albums by a couple of our favorite eccentric enigmas.

Our weekly podcast includes in-depth analysis of the new records we find extraordinary, exciting, and just plain terrible. This week, Features Editor Ryan Dombal hosts Senior Editor Anna Gaca and Contributing Editor Philip Sherburne to talk about Fever Ray’s eerie (and funny!) treatise on modern love, Radical Romantics, and Yves Tumor’s epic (and epically titled) ode to alt and glam rock, Praise a Lord Who Chews But Which Does Not Consume (Or Simply, Hot Between Worlds).

Listen to this week’s episode below, and follow The Pitchfork Review here. You can also check out an excerpt of the podcast’s transcript below.

Ryan Dombal: Though this new Fever Ray album comments on the dark sides of sex and love, they also approach these ideas in kind of a funny way.

Philip Sherburne: Yeah, it’s a really funny album. I mean, “Looking for a Ghost” starts with the line: “We don’t come with a manual/Eating out like a cannibal.” [laughs] I don’t know how they could sing that with a straight face—which is maybe why they have elaborate makeup on in the videos and artwork.

Dombal: There’s another darkly funny track, “Even It Out,” which features production from Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross of Nine Inch Nails. It really struck me because I’ve never heard a song take on this subject matter, and I’ve heard a lot of songs over the years! It’s basically about Fever Ray telling off someone who bullied their teenage child. The lyric is literally, “This is for Zacharias, who bullied my kid in high school/There’s no room for you/And we know where you live.” That is kind of scary, but also hilarious. I’m not condoning bullying [laughs], but this idea of a parent calling out their kid’s bully in a song is amazing to me.

Sherburne: That song always makes me think of the scene in Tár where Cate Blanchett scolds her kid’s bully. It’s a big year for ethically ambiguous helicopter parenting! It’s terrifying! And as a parent who would probably do that very thing, it’s so, so wrong. At least Fever Ray changed the name of the bully; apparently it’s not really Zacharias.

Anna Gaca: I think “Even It Out” aspires to something a little bit bigger too—they mean evening out the entire injustice of the world. When they say “There’s no room for you,” it’s directed at everyone who holds cruel or demeaning beliefs about other people.

Sherburne: You make it sound like a Fugazi lyric! [laughter]