Joanna Sternberg's debut single This Is Not Who I Want To Be is an exciting introduction to her forthcoming debut album Then I Try Some More. Found via a random tweet extolling its virtues, the rare sort that make you have to listen to the song, it more than lived up to the excitement in those two hundred and eighty characters.
"I don’t know if a song has ever, first listen, brought me to my knees like this one just did. This song uppercut my gut then kicked me in the face then sprinkled my teeth over my bloody body" is a recommendation that you can't really ignore for a song. So we didn't.
And lyrically that punch is right there from the start, disarming in its honesty, but something that many people will be able to relate to even if they don't admit it to themselves - "Rain pouring down my head pounds from the sound, I'm stuck to the bed with brain zaps in my head, I can't fall asleep I cannot stay awake, I cry till I weep I shiver and I shake" - evocatively describing the torment of being lost in your own head with seemingly no way of escape.
The entry into the chorus is a bleak but revelatory moment, where everything is laid out stark and bare as the first step to trying to come to terms and find a solution - "But finally I see I should be scared of me. How'd I come to be my own worst enemy? This is not who I want to be, this is not who I want to be. I am slowly killing me." It's unsettling in its clarity of expression yet cathartic at the same time, raw right down to the bone in a way that many try but few achieve. It's set to a piano, that sounds like it's about to go horribly out of tune, but that makes for even more impact, increasing the sense that things could spiral out of control.
Joanna Sternberg's website can be found here and she is on Facebook and Twitter.
The album is out on July 12 and can be ordered via her Bandcamp.