On a cold night, Alice Merton abruptly notices something is wrong while standing in line, waiting to get into a club. Though she is surrounded only by friends and disinterested strangers, she has the feeling she is being watched. It seems every step she takes is being judged by an invisible jury. What a paradox: just a short while back she was performing in front of an audience of millions at The Voice of Germany, or on huge stages around the world. But this harmless club visit is suddenly making her fearful.
With every step closer to the large steel door, her pulse races faster; with every boom of the bass from inside the club, she feels worse. A twinge of dizziness–a vertigo–pulls her off balance. Before the next wave of unease rolls toward her, she makes a quick decision and excuses herself, turning around to rush home and leaving her friends puzzled.
The next morning is followed by a helplessness: What was that? How is it possible to love playing in front of an audience and pour your soul into songs, while at the same time, start to panic when you want to go out and dance? To confidently express yourself in front of millions of viewers on television, but to also fear judgment by strangers? And anyway: can’t you be both? Courageous and soft, confident and shy, stable and shaken by vertigo.
On “Vertigo,” Alice’s first single of 2021, the 27-year-old describes the long road from uncertainty back to self-confidence. It emphasizes the unrest that seizes her again and again, the thought: “Why can’t I just let it go?” These contradicting thoughts and emotions that are so familiar to all of us sum up to an overwhelmingly positive effect – “Vertigo” leaves you empowered rather than anxious: A powerful indie pop arrangement with distorted guitars, plus Alice Merton’s crystal-clear voice. The result is reminiscent of the British Invasion, with no air of self-doubt.
With its energetic live qualities, “Vertigo” feeds an appetite for summer festivals and concerts that will definitely return at some point. Largely responsible for this is the Canadian producer Koz, a multiple Grammy nominee, who has worked with Dua Lipa (“Physical”) among others. Here, too, he adds on to what has already made Alice Merton stand out from the crowd in the past – her classic pop appeal – with an uncompromising and indie attitude. This enables Alice to take another big step: She equally encourages a shaken generation and herself that there will be easy summers again. That you can dance again and lie in each other’s arms. That it is absolutely fine to have many facets, to not always be clear, and that strength and weakness are not mutually exclusive.