Maricka Hackman’s newest album Any Human Friend gifts listeners the unique privilege of being inside her mind for a time. In addition to hearing some of her thoughts, dilemmas, wishes, and self-criticisms; there is also the rare opportunity to be a fly on the wall during the process of understanding and healing from the end of a 4-year relationship with fellow musician Amber Bain (The Japanese House).
In a recent interview, Hackman discusses how the two have managed to maintain their friendship and also how the break-up has provided some inspiration for both artists. Several tracks off Hackman’s newest release, such as All Night and Send My Love, reflect that inspiration. This album is multidimensional with refreshingly direct messages about sex, sadness, pleasure, and self-exploration, both metamphorical and quite literal as seen in Hand Solo.
Any Human Friend is the perfect follow-up to Hackman’s 2017 release I’m Not Your Man. She continues to impress with her unabashed, ofttimes poetic, and consistently honest lyrics. The first track, Wanderlust, is dreamlike and airy like a great French film. That gentle invitation is quickly amped up with the second song, The One, boasting a quick build-up and pleasantly conflicting messages that Hackman is both desired and detested; an aggressive chorus shouts “you’re such an attention whore” to which she responds with casual confidence “all you f-ckers want my d-ck.” If there was any question as to whether or not Marika would continue to be direct and brazen in her lyrics, she made sure to clear that up right away.
Marika Hackman – The One
With the third song, All Night, we hear some fantastic guitar lines accompanying the blatant description of a romp lasting the whole night long. She then taps into her inner Sarah Maclachlan with some effervescent vocals in Blow, where she lays it out saying “I hold my head up and I give it all that I have.”
By the midpoint it is apparent that the album is like a dance, a push and pull between vulnerability and empowerment, the darkness of introspection with moments of levity and humour. Amongst the layers of synth in I’m Not Where You Are, she sends the blunt message “I’d rather be asleep than interact with me.” The follow-up is the eerily beautiful and sorrowful Send My Love.
Marika Hackman – I’m Not Where You Are
Hackman doesn’t leave listeners in their deep emotions long, transforming the mood with Hand Solo, an all too rare tune about masturbation. Using a bit of tongue-in-cheek humour Hackman makes some social commentary referencing going blind while having fun and stating “under patriarchal law I’m gonna die a virgin.” Marika freely expresses herself and in doing so often speaks up for women and the LGBTQ community. She is direct and expressive, satiating many listeners who have been left starved by mainstream music.
Hackman keeps the energy high with Conventional Ride and Come Undone before drawing the album to a bittersweet end with the ethereal and passionate, Hold On, and the title track Any Human Friend. Marika revealed in an interview that the title was inspired by a documentary about 4 year olds spending time with people with dementia. She has allowed the phrase “any human friend” to be more all-encompassing, touching on the very human need to connect with others. These last two tracks excel in their musicality and tenderness, closing out a journey of self-exploration and human connection.