Anouk van Kalmthout

Tsar B rides out impulsive romance on “Auwtch”

As we found out earlier this year, a whimsical “Ouch!” can add some much-needed levity within stormy heartbreak. Belgian artist Tsar B‘s new single “Auwtch” walks that fragile tightrope between pain and pleasure. The blowback of allowing yourself to feel too deeply, too romantically can sting. “Auwtch” molds that raw feeling into a cascading 80s-indebted torch song, propelled by volcanic drum computers and gloom-ridden synths. Tsar B’s sweeping, icy vocals cut through it like a shard of glass.

“I wrote that song when I fell in love, that same night. In fact, I was able to put those first moments, that adolescent naivety, in a bottle,” she told Belgian magazine Knack Focus. “Falling in love is a very interesting experience for me. I don’t experience it often, but once I have a crush on someone, I very quickly start imagining new worlds and a full future with that person. Then in my impulsiveness I sometimes turn out to be much too romantic for someone I just met. Ultimately, I’m a big fan of ‘Heroes just for one day.'”

In the video, Tsar B – whose real name is Justine Bourheus – is seen riding a fake hobble horse: it starts out lavish and beautiful, but as the shot slowly fades out you see the cut-and-dry mechanics behind the movie magic. It’s a fun visual extension of seeing a relationship through, each layer of idealism slowly peeled off until you realise its true nature. By chance, that eager honeymoon phase is also symbolised by how the video – directed by Lennert Madou – was made.

When filming the video, I had to lip sync twice as fast as the original song. My friend recently told me that I live twice as fast as normal people. We concluded that’s why shooting this video went so well: my brain is trapped in a universe where everything goes twice as fast.”

Whether “Auwtch” is a standalone single or part of a bigger recording project hasn’t been revealed as of yet. Check out the video below and find it on streaming services.


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