Agnes Obel – “Citizen of Glass” (2016)


Label: Play It Again Sam

Review by Warren Mayocchi

Many words already used to describe the music of Agnes Obel; enigmatic, haunting, enchanting, and the like. All are true but none capture the experience. “Citizen of Glass” is the latest opportunity to be enthralled in the magic. The album title refers to the person who so transparent we know them in every way possible. As our world becomes increasingly able through technology it is possible to capture, and be accurate about personal observations of another. A great deal of information can be gained about a person through biological scans, social media, and so on. Not to the level which would allow us to fully clone a person and their conscious mind, but we edge closer all the time. Maybe the eventual Citizen of Glass will be a digital copy of ourselves, able to live and interact for as long as supporting hardware is maintained. But I digress, though not without intent. Agnes Obel has created a spiritual experience in song – it is possible “Citizen of Glass” will facilitate expansive thoughts in any direction. Musically the album is full of drifting vocals, simple keyboards, and contemplative strings…which is a mechanical description for a piece of art. Almost as if I would describe a treasured painting as paints, simple brushstrokes, and textured canvas – obviously inadequate. I do have favourite tracks on the album, but again, it is like sitting at the beach with the blue sky and sand meeting the gentle ocean. Choosing to focus on the flow of sand around each footstep does no justice to the whole experience. “Familiar” has a hint of Gotye and Kimbra singing “Somebody That I Used to Know” in the tone and conversation woven throughout. It also has a music video allowing you to hear for yourself a good example from “Citizen of Glass”. “It’s Happening Again” begins with a simple piano tune into which a fascinated vocal enters and is soon supported by emotional strings. It does sound as though the singer is experiencing the feedback of the magic the song evokes and then marvels at the connection. Is this really a recording or a private concert? “Trojan Horses” begins much like most of the album’s tracks – vocals and keyboard – soon to be contrasted with percussion and strings in the chorus. It is an enchantment in music. “Golden Green” is somewhat like Goldfrapp on their dreamy albums it also has a music video. In the end all I can do is write more words in an attempt to describe what you need to experience for yourself…delicately beautiful. Everything on “Citizen of Glass” deserves to be heard.

Rating – 96/100



  1. Stretch Your Eyes
  2. Familiar
  3. Red Virgin Soil
  4. It’s Happening Again
  5. Stone
  6. Trojan Horses
  7. Citizen of Glass
  8. Golden Green
  9. Grasshopper
  10. Mary





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