Last year, Norwegian pop artist Astrid S made waves stateside with her tune about a deeply conflicted relationship, "Hurts So Good." Now, on her latest single, "Breathe," the 20-year-old takes a more wistful tone, ruminating on what happens before all that hurt: when you're so into someone new that when they're gone—and you don't know what they're thinking—it feels like there's no air to breathe.
The song itself is straightforward and sleek. The verses feel urgent and emotionally charged ("Please," Astrid pleads, "When you look at me like that / There's no way to fight back"), but in the chorus, she dials it back for a sweet, staccato hook that evokes Ellie Goulding: "When I'm with you, I forget to bre-e-athe," she sings softly.
The song's video, premiering below, has more of an edge. "I've always thought this song was super sweet," Astrid says. "The theme of it, the synths, the melodies. It's a cliché song, but in a good way. I really wanted [the video] to be something different than what people would expect... My idea was originally to remake scenes from love movies like The Notebook, but then this duo—two female producers from Stockholm called Cherry Cobra—came back and were like, 'What if we switch it up and make the most known action movie scenes.' So that's what we went for! [In the video], we're remaking scenes from James Bond, from Kill Bill, from Suicide Squad—we're traveling through centuries."
Polaroids from the shoot of Astrid's wardrobe
Channeling styles from films—and decades—gone by (see: Astrid's 70s ensemble with round-rim glasses, her bright blonde hair teased larger-than-life) she and her paramour play the bad guys, armed and on the run from a red-faced commander-in-chief. The most challenging part of movie time-travel? Astrid votes it was bringing her inner Bond out to play: "The scene that made me most nervous where I was supposed to pretend to load the gun," she says. "People do it so well in movies, and I really felt the pressure. My heart was beating so fast, and I was practicing like crazy right before they said 'Action.' It was really nerve-wracking, because I wanted it to look really badass—but hopefully it does."
Astrid plays Webster Hall on 5/16 and the Troubadour in LA on 5/17.