LÉON’s ‘Apart’ Chronicles Heartbreak and Isolation


Sandra Thorson

(Courtesy Sandra Thorsson)

By Hannah Keating, Arts Editor


With her second album reaching Australian and American charts, Swedish singer and songwriter LÉON is poised to influence contemporary music with elements of the past. Her unique style, grounded in influence from major artists who have come before, finds favor with fans of artists like VÉRITÉ, FLETCHER and The Aces. LÉON’s sophomore release “Apart” hit streaming services at the end of October, and has found a good amount of success thus far.

Behind the Scenes

LÉON is Lotta Lindgren, daughter of a cellist mother and a composer father who worked in Stockholm. She started writing music before graduating from high school, drawing on soul, R&B and jazz music as inspiration. “Apart” was released over a year after her debut self-titled album and a series of EPs and singles came out. The majority of “Apart” was written while living in Stockholm after completing a tour and ending a long-term relationship. Being in her home town and producing with close friends shaped this album — the work of producer Martin Stilling makes her sound very different from the Los Angeles atmosphere that gave rise to her first album. 

“Apart” is a journey through love and heartbreak, finding yourself in isolation but desiring to live life to the fullest. It has a vintage, old-soul sound that is reminiscent of watching old movies and running through a field. It’s a journey to be listened to from start to finish — and while not explicitly a concept album, it is engaging enough that it might as well be. 

Keating’s Take

The album opens with the soft, acoustic “Head And Heart On Fire.” I first heard this song as a pre-released single and fell in love with it. It’s an opening that feels like fresh air — you can almost imagine the initial demo Lindgren brought into the studio, but you get to experience it in its full form here. With the soft guitar and sweeping background of harmonies, it sets the tone for the album in a way that is soulful and honest. 

The record then immediately dives into the cinematic “And It Breaks My Heart,” a solid addition to any late-night driving playlist. Being one of the few songs from the album with a music video, it is impactful and visceral. Really, most songs from the album fit this graphic descriptor — they are sweeping modern pop songs inspired by the soulful grooves of Swedish bands from the ’60s and string sections of major orchestral works. 

My favorite song from the album, and coincidentally the song LÉON was most excited for her audience to hear, according to an interview with Paper Magazine, is “Seventeen.” This track shoots me into a vision of a hazy gymnasium decorated with string lights in anticipation for prom — the drums underneath are like a pounding and nervous heartbeat, and the synths are like an ethereal dreamscape. “One more dance before you go / Just take my hand and hold me close / And I’m up here higher than I’ve ever been before / And I can’t hold back the way I’m feeling anymore,” the singer nostalgically croons.

Though I will be burying myself in classic Christmas tunes soon, I know some of LÉON’s songs will make it into my Spotify Wrapped playlist as songs I have played on repeat. Even in the new year, I’m excited for “Apart” to reappear in my listening.  


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