In April of 2023, SUZANNE, a favorite artist of mine, released a self-produced 5-track EP titled New Life, New Mind. A departure from her previous EPs, but fitting into the change heard in her singles throughout the past two years, it represents a maturation of her sound as well as a dip into other genres. Heavy on the synth like her first EP, Underwater, but with elements of jazz shining through, New Life, New Mind explores the experience of starting anew after a personal tragedy and coming out triumphant on the other side.
The opening number, “Count to Five,” has a jazzy bass and vibrant horns cutting through the chorus. It has a bold sound, and SUZANNE’s ad-libbing adds depth to the soundscape. You can feel the desire for a fresh start – a bold first step taken towards the “new life, new mind” that the EP is named for.
While it’s also a breakup song, it’s also about overhauling anything in life that’s bringing you down and hitting the reset button, finding enjoyment in the little things, and making your first marks on a clean slate.
I just need to hold my breath and count to five
Live while I’m still alive
I’m leavin’ you behind
I know I need a new life, new mind
Then “가까이 (Closer)” takes on a dreamier, bedroom pop edge – though the horns still make an appearance. An enticing song with lyrics that are gentle though at times tinged with uncertainty. Regardless of that, SUZANNE trusts the person she’s singing to and relies on them as they embark on the unknowns of life. The rhythmic repetition of the titular word, “가까이,” has an almost hypnotic edge throughout the chorus,
Won’t you come to me
And comfort me?
가까이 더 가까이
That’s all I need, just you and me
“다 가져가 (Take It All)” has a similar vibe to “Closer,” where dark electronic pop with a quick sequence of repetitive, bubbly synth notes gives way to a robust chorus that complements SUZANNE’s effortlessly light vocal tone.
Synthesized strings play a melancholy tune through the first verse, before switching to a deeper, more piano-like sound. The song is drenched in regret and lingering feelings — expressing the desire to move on as strangers or go back to having never met at all, rather than grapple with the burning embers of love and hate.
If only we could
Turn back time somehow
‘Cause I don’t wanna love you (Love you no more)
And I don’t wanna hate you (Hate you no more)
다 가져가 / 남은 내 맘 전부 다 가져가
Next, “You Think You Know Me” lyrically feels like a call back to her 2020 single “Can’t Hang,” but with a darker, more jaded tone. A few staccato piano notes echoing over the percussive, snare drum-like beat. SUZANNE’s voice sounds calculatedly fragile, suiting the self-conscious lyrics.
Like “Can’t Hang,” SUZANNE laments how her personal problems make her feel isolated, as though nobody can know her but herself. However, although there’s still an accusatory edge to some of the lyrics, there’s a greater sense of fear in “You Think You Know Me” than “Can’t Hang” — rather than asking “Aren’t you tired of me yet?” she instead asks “Are you still with me? Are you still with me?” before giving in to her feelings.
You say you love me
But you don’t really know me
You say you know me
But what do you know ’bout me?
Unexpectedly, the final track, “Dazed” leans into the deep house genre. It’s a triumphant closer, after a difficult journey of self-exploration. Lyrically, it’s almost like an answer to “Count to Five,” all about feeling electric and alive with a new person — like she’s found that new life and new mind at last. It’s a fun song, featuring SUZANNE’s filtered vocals and jazzy scatting. It’s a true earworm and a very different, but welcome, sound for SUZANNE.
Let’s dance through the night
This connection, it’s hard to describe
It’s a feeling that we can’t define
Your touch is sending shivers down my spine / (Shiver)
If you liked SUZANNE’s EP, I would also recommend checking out her track on SOULBYSEL Compilation 04, “you won’t change a thing for me.” Her recent turn towards dreamy, synth-laden jazz can also be heard there, alongside a number of other incredibly enjoyable collaborative songs.