Marika Hackman is an English folk artist who uses her taste for the darker, melancholic side of things to propel listeners into the light of truth—to see people and relationships for who and what they are, to simultaneously vent frustrations about perceptions of lesbian love and mock men who don’t take those frustrations seriously. In June, Hackman released I’m Not Your Man via Sub Pop, which catapulted her into a more mainstream audience, if she wasn’t already thanks to her previous albums (which garnered tours with Laura Marling and collaborations with Alt-J’s Charlie Andrew).
I’m Not Your Man contained such gems as “Cigarette” and “I’d Rather Be With Them,” which are tracks number seven and thirteen, respectively, but are no less crucial to the story of I’m Not Your Man—Hackman recently recorded them in live, acoustic video sessions with 7 Layers, one released today and one released back in October. The emotion that comes across in these videos isn’t too far from the album’s quieter moments between feedback hums and ‘80s guitar tones, but there is something poignant about listening only to Hackman’s piercing vocals and guitar.
Maybe it’s the (literally) killer lyrics. The chorus of “Cigarette,” specifically, could win a Pulitzer Prize for breakup writing: “I tried to hold my tongue / But you, you yanked it from my grip / Bathed it in petroleum / Lit a cigarette and gave it a kiss.” “I’d Rather Be With Them” describes a heartache along the same, heartless vein: “I’m so fucking heartless / I can’t even cry.”
Watch Hackman’s 7 Layers sessions in the players below, starting with the most recent “I’d Rather Be With Them” and then “Cigarette.” Additionally, listen to her 2014 performance of the bullshit-smashing “Cannibal” from the Paste Cloud.