Marika Hackman | Any Human Friend | Album Review

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

English singer-songwriter Marika Hackman’s latest album Any Human Friend chronicles the feelings of being a confused 20-something: jumping between being playful and morbid, in love and in mourning, and self-reflection and self-loathing constantly. In her most fun, yet melancholic record to date, Any Human Friend confronts the honest emotions of coping with a breakup and embracing oneself fully.

At this point, breakup albums are not unique. Girl loses boy, girl sings her grief into the world. It’s been done—yet that’s not how Hackman chronicles her breakup. Sadness is not stagnant, as she quickly bounces from mourning to humor in the transition of “send my love” to “hand solo.” One moment, she’s questioning whether her ex ever truly loved her over a melancholic 80’s style synth pop beat, the next, the same lyrics are sung with an upward lilt over a peppy electric guitar riff.

Not only does Hackman face her emotions with honesty, she refuses to be coy in her words. For being a tight 40-minute album, she packs in as many sexual innuendos and blatant sex into the record. The slow build in “all night,” beginning with a gentle electric guitar beat, she slowly sings “Kissing (eating), fucking (moaning),” harmonizing with herself.  In the cleverly named “hand solo,” Hackman uses old wives’ tales to describe masturbation over a groovy, pop rock beat of fast paced electric guitars and pounding, highly danceable drums. 

In Any Human Friend, Hackman is the most confident she has been in any of her previous records—even posing half naked for the album art. She is confident in herself as both a musician and a queer woman in a world of “patriarchal law.” Honing in on the truths she learned post-breakup, Any Human Friend reveals a wholly uncensored artist.

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