Today more than other Mondays, you may find yourself in need of fiery songs that energize — and with its lightning riffs and hear-me-roar attitude, Solvej Schou’s “Cruel Hearted Woman” may just be the song to do the trick after the long weekend. The song’s video (directed by Alex Godinez), which Flavorwire is pleased to premiere below, is no less uninhibited, drawing its inspiration from PJ Harvey’s 1993 black-and-white clip for “Man-Size.”
“[‘Man-Size’] is just [Harvey] — alone — shimmying, facing the camera, raw,” says Schou, who also nods to her past life as a Mod scene devotee and go-go champ in the clip. “She doesn’t take herself too seriously. The same goes for ‘Cruel Hearted Woman.’ To my fiancé, friends, family, strangers, I’m the opposite of a cruel hearted woman. I’m a kind hearted, empathetic woman. But on stage, I let that sassy side of me out. I shout, I growl, I belt, I grin, I stomp. I’m 5’2”, but don’t feel confined by my gender, circumstance, or size while singing.”
Harvey, along with the “rock ‘n’ roll boastfulness of the ‘60s and ‘70s,” served as the song’s inspiration overall. “Robert Plant would coyly moan, ‘Squeeze me baby, till the juice runs down my leg.’ Janis Joplin wailed, ‘Get it while you can!’ and PJ Harvey would shout, ‘Lick my legs, I’m on fire!'” Schou adds. “I’ve always loved singers — especially strong female singers — unafraid to be both sexual and smart. So I wanted the same sort of tongue-in-cheek bravado, big vocals, and fuzzy guitar lick for ‘Cruel Hearted Woman.’ When I sing, ‘Oh, honey, honey, you’re a full grown man,’ you know what I’m talking about, but I’m not going to fully spell it out. “
Released on her 2014 self-titled LP, “Cruel Hearted Woman” shows off just one side of the SoCal-based Schou, who’s worked for a number of years as a writer for Entertainment Weekly, the Associated Press, the New York Times, and more.
“As a longtime journalist writing about known musicians, filmmakers, actors, actresses, CEOs and everyday people, I’m used to detailing the story of someone’s life and art instead of my own,” she says. “I always felt a certain closeness, though, talking to musicians, since I play music myself. Interviewing artists I’ve looked up to my whole life — from Patti Smith to Chrissie Hynde, Aretha Franklin to Brian Wilson — has meant the world as both a writer and singer. Their wisdom, stories, successes, and mistakes inspire me.”