Human Desire: A Review of Scarlet Pleasure’s New Album Pompeii 

By: Ida-Marie Kollberg

Who is Scarlet Pleasure? The band name might not sound familiar to you, but this is a band, you should know. Having achieved international fame with their song What a Life, from the Oscar-winning movie Another Round, this Danish band knows how to portray emotions. In this universe of electropop-rock melodies and hard-hitting lyrics, we meet the three band members: Emil with lead vocals, Alexander on bass, and Joachim on drums. Pompeii came out November 17th and is a testament to human desire, both good and bad. 

The album opens with one of my favorite songs. The namesake of the entire album, Pompeii, is a song with an intense beat that makes your blood pump. This song explores how it feels to be young in Copenhagen, wanting the quick fix of a one-night stand. Raw human desire opens the album and draws the reader into a world where acting on your emotions and desires is  a normal part of life. Flickering through the night, we chase the high we get from sex. This introductory song puts the listener on edge for what’s to come.  

Even though the album starts with a song that I would classify as pop rock, the album’s third song is very different. Invisible delves into the power of heartbreak but also the need for self-discovery and forming an independent identity. Unlike some of their other songs, this song contrasts itself with lyrics about losing someone, while set to an upbeat pop melody. There is a hyper-contrast between the two that comments on how easy it is to forget about true emotions in the contemporary Copenhagen dating scene. There is a need, a desire to be noticed as a person and not just someone to use for a night. In what turns out to be almost a social commentary is a prayer for love but also for individuality. 

As we progress through the album, we arrive at the second to last song: Summertime. This song is a vivid dichotomy between an optimistic melody and melancholic lyrics. We feel the warm Danish summer sun shining upon us, but at the same time, we get the feeling that we are missing something in our lives. Feelings of heartbreak and loneliness are at the forefront of this song, and despite the upbeat melody, the singer gives the listener a feeling of isolation. Here we have another commentary on the difficult nature of dating culture: wanting a summer love, but not being able to reach this goal that is supposedly so attainable. 

I’m Sorry is the last song of an album packed with desire, human emotion, and heartbreak. This song is an introspective conclusion, helping the listener realize the accountability one needs to take in a downward spiraling relationship. The song is about admitting when you’re wrong and listening to the needs of your partner. As a full circle moment, it brings us back to the raw, human emotions. The album started off with describing a desire for sex and physicality; In this closing song, the desire is for love and closeness. The listener has essentially been taken through an entire summer relationship: from the first moment of meeting for a one-night stand, to the final goodbye and the realization of the wrongs committed. As the song, and the album, comes to a close, the fade-out underlines that weight of unresolved feelings. We are left with a slow conclusion, highlighting the emotional rollercoaster the band has just taken us through. The listener is left with an open invitation to join in on heartbreak, desire, loneliness, lust, love, and anything in between.