Marika Hackman
Any Human Friend


4.1
excellent

Review

by SowingSeason STAFF
August 11th, 2019 | 33 replies


Release Date: 2019 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A resplendent piece of pop/rock/folk that is as beguiling musically as it is lyrically blunt.

In the last several days, I’ve gotten to know Marika Hackman’s music very well. I poured over her first two releases – We Slept At Last and I’m Not Your Man – and found myself blown away by how each record succeeds so differently. The tender, moonlit folk of the former was outshone by the band-backed I’m Not Your Man, a swaggering exercise in alt-rock that saw her come out of her shell both musically and sexually (the timid strides of her debut notwithstanding, ‘Boyfriend’ was the first song where she sang confidently about being gay). All of this had me primed for the release of Any Human Friend, and I have to say, she does not disappoint. Hackman’s third full-length feels like a fusion of these experiences, bending the squealing electric guitars of I’m Not Your Man around the folk-pop hooks of We Slept At Last, all while further emboldening her confidence – or as she sings two tracks in – I'm a god sent gift, and all you fuckers want my dick. Thus, Any Human Friend feels like Hackman’s most representative work to date.

It’s Marika’s forthright lyrics and unconventional humor that keeps listeners captivated. Much of the record revolves around sex, a theme that could have been predicted based upon the bare cover art. ‘all night’ is an ode to oral sex (kissing and fucking / eating, moaning) disguised as a starlit indie ballad, with a soaring chorus stretched across panoramic guitars and shimmering synths. ‘hand solo’ is midtempo rocker that is, predictably, all about masturbation: It's alright, I'm jerking. This isn’t news on the heels of her preceding album, which saw Marika learn not to mince words as she really grew into her own skin. What’s great about Any Human Friend is that it’s not just some sleazy horn-fest; Hackman uses sex as a prop for more important topics – like shattering stereotypes about homosexual women. Even the title was lifted from a documentary about four year olds interacting with dementia patients, in which one of them explains “it’s great to make any human friend, whether old or young.” One can’t help but notice that this theme (of a child-like innocence and acceptance of all types of people) has been extrapolated and applied to Any Human Friend. Here, Hackman battles common misconceptions about being a gay woman, particularly fetishization by the straight community – a pet peeve of hers that dates back to a 2017 interview in which she stated, “Women’s desire for each other is still a fetish for men. I have always worked with lovely men who have never tried to mansplain stuff to me, but that hasn’t been the case for all the women musicians I know.”

Strictly from a musical standpoint, Any Human Friend is probably her most palatable offering. It settles into a sweet spot between folk and rock, creating the perfect gateway for newcomers while also appeasing fans of either of her first two records. It’s less a back-and-forth dart between genres as it is a cohesive homogenization; Hackman deftly intertwines upbeat drumming and melodic electric chords with atmospheric indie-pop. It’s not an easy line to toe, but she pulls it off with remarkable consistency and, for the most part, sans any pitfalls. Highlights include the ramped up synth-rocker ‘the one’, the impossibly catchy ‘I’m not where you are’, the west coast dream-pop vibes of ‘conventional ride’, and the effervescent, bouncy melodies of ‘come undone.’ She’s done better slow, soul-baring ballads before than ‘hold on’, the ambient penultimate track that primarily serves as a reminder that Any Human Friend’s greatest asset is its quirky, unpredictable energy. Still, even in the record’s least gripping junctures, it’s never far from a new wrinkle to recapture listeners’ focus. Hackman may not have another ‘Boyfriend’ here, but it’s also her smoothest front-to-end listen.

Any Human Friend cements Hackman as one of the most intriguing figures in indie-pop/rock, if not for her lyrical antics then for her ability to constantly reinvent her music. As Marika continues to feel more self-assured with her own personality and sexuality, her music grows with her, sounding more poised and full-bodied with each release. Her third record is a continuation of that organic growth, a resplendent piece of pop/rock/folk that is as beguiling musically as it is lyrically blunt. It’s refreshing that we still have artists like Hackman who are unafraid to speak their minds, while creating excellent music to drive it all home.




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user ratings (33)
Chart.
3.5
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
SowingSeason
Moderator
August 11th 2019


31903 Comments

Album Rating: 4.1

Another win for indie chicks, another loss for my objectivity score.

Digging: Off With Their Heads - Be Good

Slex
Contributing Reviewer
August 11th 2019


7848 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

What I just love about this is that it’s nothing mind blowing but it’s SO catchy and the more I come back to it, the more I find sonic, emotional and lyrical shadings/details. Just a very strongly constructed album

Digging: Marika Hackman - Any Human Friend

luci
August 11th 2019


11484 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

like the last record, this is extremely listenable but I can't seem to go above a 3.5

"the one", "i'm not where you are" and "come undone" are the highlights for me. dig the alt dance influence

Slex
Contributing Reviewer
August 11th 2019


7848 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Wasn’t a fan of her last album at all tbh

Lord(e)Po)))ts
August 11th 2019


43532 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

this is up there with Bea 1991 - Brand New Adult for best album with hilariously bad album art 2019

Digging: Evan Geesman - Newagesewage

Ashtiel
August 11th 2019


582 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"hand solo" sounds like something off of Cherry Glazerr's Apocalipstick and I think for that it's automatically one of my favorites here.

Digging: Oh Sees - Face Stabber

WatchItExplode
August 11th 2019


7021 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The one is 1 of my favorite songs from this year the rest of the album is nice but almost rides on its coat tails. I also like how the backing vocals kind of hang over everything and lure you back into the song.

dmathias52
August 12th 2019


726 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I almost wish this didn’t genre hop as often, cause the dance vibes are so good they every song that doesn’t have them is kind of disappointing

Digging: Tyler Childers - Country Squire

JS19
August 12th 2019


7267 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

First and last tracks some of the best of the year

tommygun
August 12th 2019


26962 Comments


God you can almost smell that album art

Absolutely disgusting

BlushfulHippocrene
Staff Reviewer
August 12th 2019


2975 Comments


I might end up feeling like Luci, but for now -- I'm loving this so much! Thanks for covering it, have avoided checking her for quite some time now. I love the often deadpan delivery of otherwise passionate topics.

Digging: Bon Iver - i,i

SowingSeason
Moderator
August 12th 2019


31903 Comments

Album Rating: 4.1

Glad you're all mostly enjoying this. I'm still relatively new to Hackman (thanks klap for the rec!), but I am already certain that her work is a cut above most indie-pop.

JohnnyoftheWell
Contributing Reviewer
August 12th 2019


15788 Comments


yes yes yes was thinking of reviewing this but glad to see you got there first. sweet album, will read this soon

alamo
August 12th 2019


1576 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

perfection?

klap
Staff Reviewer
August 13th 2019


12160 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Slex da fuk her last album was amazing



thanks for covering this sowing

Digging: Marika Hackman - Any Human Friend

SowingSeason
Moderator
August 13th 2019


31903 Comments

Album Rating: 4.1

her last album was amazing [2]

Thanks for the rec, klap! I'm certain your context with the artist would have made for a better review than what I spun up, but I just wanted it to have something.

Slex
Contributing Reviewer
August 13th 2019


7848 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Just found it really bland, maybe I’d think different now



Also to set the record straight, Hand Solo is the best song here

Atari
Staff Reviewer
August 13th 2019


24837 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This is niice. Thanks for covering this, Sowing

Digging: Off With Their Heads - Be Good

klap
Staff Reviewer
August 13th 2019


12160 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

haha nah man my output isn't what it used to be, this is great. essential that she's getting coverage and most of all that this record is actually fantastic. i wasn't a huge fan of the single but this album delivers the hooks

Atari
Staff Reviewer
August 13th 2019


24837 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"the one" kinda remind me of '90s Cardigans!



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