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Brimheim is impressively authentic and human on can't hate myself into a different shape

"can't hate myself into a different shape"

Release date: 28 January 2022
Brimheim cant hate myself art
25 January 2022, 17:38 Written by Marie Oleinik
When you have depression, your emotions mash into a kind of detached and lonely self-awareness. It’s a time when words fail, when words don’t matter and hardly anything does. But on her debut album can’t hate myself into a different shape, Brimheim finds all the right words.

"Heaven help me, I've gone crazy," she sighs in the opening line, then proceeding to challenge this statement throughout the album's eleven tracks. Her voice is insistent but relaxed, a kind of tone you'd use to share your darkest thoughts with a loved one over a late-night bottle of wine.

Anyone who's spent time with a depressed person knows that, despite your best intentions, the experience can be upsetting, exhausting and, worst of all, boring. Helena Heinesen Rebensdorff, a Danish-Faroese musician known as Brimheim, is aware of that, so she made her debut LP as beautiful and enjoyable as it is heartbreaking. She questions how much compassion a broken self deserves, opening up about loneliness, self-harm and guilt, while coating these heavy sentiments into a layer of carefully-produced alt. pop and grunge. The result is captivating: with few obvious earworms and a relatively relaxed pace, the album sustains your attention throughout its forty minutes.

"There’s a growing gap in my body," she deadpans, "I didn’t feel anything at first / So I’ve been picking at the edges / The hole is as big as the entire world." Brimheim's raw lyricism and persona strongly remind of Halsey's Manic, another remarkable study on mental illness, but her blunt delivery and music line are most akin to Phoebe Bridgers. As she comes undone, stumbling through brain fog and comparing herself to women who are "stronger, better, more complete," another side of Brimheim emerges, one that is desperate to heal, to be loved and understood by her wife, her peers, and, most importantly, herself. "I’m just looking for reassurance / That I am open eyed / I’m beautiful / I am not a burden," she pleads on 'baleen feeder'. On 'hey amanda', the album's upbeat and wholesome highlight, Brimheim reaches out to her childhood friend, while on 'straight into traffic' she lovingly consoles her younger self — "You’re allowed to breathe / You were made to feel and cry / and sing and be alive."

In an industry oversaturated with art related to mental health, it's a big undertaking to release something that actually adds value to the discourse. Do we even need another album about depression in times like these? Aren't we all a little fucked up anyway? What can a newcomer say that hasn’t already been recycled by A-listers and dismissed by an audience with the attention span of a goldfish? Despite all odds, there's something genuinely authentic and human about can't hate myself into a different shape. I can imagine many listeners finding comfort in Brimheim's exploration of deep pain as they navigate personal crises of their own. Besides, it's eerily eye-opening to hear an album like this coming from one of the world's happiest countries, a bitter reminder that no amount of hygge can fix the worst feelings. There has been no shortage of great music exported from Scandinavia, but even though it's only January, it will be a challenge for another Nordic album in 2022 to outdo the impact of Brimheim's debut.

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