Milla Jovovich is best known as an actress, but at age 16, she released an album called The Divine Comedy that, depending on which music circles you belong to, was either a total non-entity, a vanity-project disaster or the object of cult devotion on certain mailing lists and, as of this year, The Awl. It’s actually quite good, even without the torpedoed standards actors’ albums face.
It’s also a 1994 album that didn’t have a follow-up, so for Milla (she goes by first-name-only billing, so we will too) to release a single almost 20 years alter is a surprise, to say the least. Less surprising is that it’s in the vague alt-dance-pop triangle from which so many great singles have emerged. And less surprising still is that it’s fantastic. Listen below.
That’s a hell of a synth line, yes? It’s commands instant attention amid a mean mess of stutters bass burbles and arpeggiating beneath the chorus like something The Knife might do. The sound’s not only completely immediate–this sounds like a hit from the first few seconds–but something that rewards repeat listens and loops. I’m on listen fifteen, and it’s going to take me twice as many days to get this out of my head.
When you’re got a backing this sinuous, the standard approach is for a vocalist to pant and chill her vocals atop it, like she’s less a singer than a dry-ice machine. This is what Milla does, and it works as well as it did for her predecessors. You can’t help but think of them; after all, Divine Comedy got swamped with Kate Bush comparisons, and she’s probably not going to avoid comparisons this time because she sounds so much like Kylie Minogue: alternatively slinky, breathy and distant. That said, Milla also sounds better than Kylie does these days, and she’s got much better material. It doesn’t matter what the electric sky is (something captivating, the lyrics hint) when she’s sighing about it this well. If there’s justice in the pop world, “Electric Sky” will storm through every club and playlist from now until December. It’s stormed ours.