Monument – Review by Karina Brandt

January 15th 2021, will stay chiselled into my heart forever.

It has taken me a few days to digest this new single, Monument, from KEiiNO. After Spirit in the sky, I honestly didn’t think that ANY song could be any more beautiful, and speak higher to me, than that… But wow, was I wrong!

Around midnight into Friday, more and more fans gathered with KEiiNO in the live chat on Youtube, waiting for the clock to strike twelve and the song would be released and the lyric video would go live. It was some VERY long minutes when the countdown started and I think I can speak for a lot of us when I say our hearts beat faster and faster as the moment came nearer.

And there it was. Along with the first instrumental tones of Monument, a beautiful soundscape that gave me a feeling of being inside a huge cinema, watching the opening of some huge Universal movie, was a breathtaking view from up in the air, down to white snowy landscape, and right there we knew we were on the Sámi tundra. From that very second, I sensed this was going to be something profound.

Barely had I swallowed that thought before Fred began to joik and lift it up to an even higher level of beauty, and it felt like my heart was exploding inside my chest, and tears began streaming down my cheeks which made my teenage daughter, Katrine, shake her head and whisper, “Oh gosh, mom!!”.

Shortly after, a beautiful flock of reindeer was running across the tundra as Alexandra’s amazing voice took over from Fred’s joik and asked: “Where do we go when it’s over?”

Oh yes, where do we actually go? Some people believe we go to heaven, some people believe in re-incarnation some are atheists, some are struggling with what to believe if anything… some believe when the Bible tells us that Paradise will come here on earth, after Armageddon (which KEiiNO mentions in their song, “Dancing in the smoke”), and those who practise Asatru, believe in going to Valhalla after their life ends… No matter where we go, what about what we leave behind of legacies and memories for others to remember us by, whether they’re personal or professional?

While listening to Alexandra singing the lyrics, the music grew underneath, building up with more and more digital instruments, making a stronger and stronger impression of the composition of this package. Suddenly these instruments stop, and underneath is only silent strings, while Alexandra softly sings:

In your voice, I feel it coming back to me
Like a shadow whisper in the night
Like a monument to all the time we spent
A minor symphony

And then the chorus continues into a crescendo of her strong voice and a symphony of instruments that underlines the grandiosity of life itself, as well as the wide opens of the Sámi tundra. It makes the little hairs rise and the words that keep ringing inside my head are switching between “wow” and “oh my god”… Already at this point I knew that Monument would beat Spirit in the sky, which overwhelmed be quite a lot since Spirit in the sky was a lifechanging song for me and always will mean ever so much to me and have that special history connected to it. (Read the story of how KEiiNO and Spirit in the sky changed my life)

Where Alexandra takes a break, Fred joins in with a well-situated joik and then we see the peak of a mountain, very beautifully symbolising Alexandra’s next lines: “Like a monument to all the time we spent”… What is more monumental than an ever standing raised mountain with all its history since the beginning of the world?

Asking the ever philosophical and theocratic question – “what if we are never-ending, if we are more than dust and sand?”

We don’t really know, do we? No question has been asked and investigated more in the history of humankind, than “what comes when life has ended”, 

“In your voice, I feel it coming back to me
Like a shadow whisper in the night
Like a monument to all the time we spent
A minor symphony”

The memories we sit back with, after losing a loved one, the way tiny things like a flower,  voices, noises, scents, little things, make memories sneak into our minds like whispering voices, ending up in a symphony of memories – memories that make us happy, sad, emotional, and not least appreciative of having had the honour of knowing that person.

Thankfully most people we know, leave us with nice and positive impressions after they die. Those memories ARE THEIR Monument in OUR lives… 

KEiiNO nailed it with Monument. They have outdone themselves this time.  No wonder they felt this was Eurovision material – most of the Eurovision fans agree. Now we just need to see them in Rotterdam to convince the rest of the Eurovision fans, who are not yet convinced.

Thank you, Tom, Alexandra, Fred, Alexander and Rüdiger, for your never ending passion for writing songs and music and not releasing before it has reached perfection. You are magic.