The first ever album review on my blog. Yay. :-) Not to be wondered at though - I hardly ever buy or otherwise aquire new music, this is only the third album I've gotten this year. The first was the ESC CD, of course - or actually that was two CDs in one - and then there was one that I bought in Poland which I can't say anything more about here as it would give away too much about a certain birthday present (Anéa, I'm looking at you ;-) ... and that's all the music I've bought all year. Even though I do in fact listen to quite a lot of music. I guess I just have more than enough already as it is.
But last weekend I did get one more new CD. I was at KAS and trilltrall's house to have dinner and watch a movie and swap some photos ... and fix some videos that I had that I didn't know how to get the way I wanted. But trilltrall knew. :-) And it also turned out that he had just downloaded Alexander Rybak's album that was released ... not too long ago. Since I had my external harddrive with me it was but the work of a moment to copy the CD onto it, and when I got home I transferred it to my beloved mp3 player. I've hardly been listening to anything else since, so I thought I'd take a moment to blog about it. After all, what is a blog for other than to share one's thoughts ... such as they are. :-)
I actually like this CD a lot ... which may seem obvious since I listen to it so much, but that's not necessarily true. I do also sometimes listen to music that I don't necessarily like, but that fascinates me for some reason ... like the Putin song. Ouch ...
Anyway. The CD is called Fairytales, and of course there's one song on it that everyone will have already heard. In addition to the obvious, the album contains eight other songs, with two additional bonus tracks if you download it from Platekompaniet like trilltrall did. Before even listening to the album, I knew there would be at least one good song on it, because I firmly believe that there is no possible way that anyone could ever ruin Vårsøg ... and indeed I am yet again proved correct. That lovely tune has in this incarnation become a melancholy love song called If You Were Gone. It's quite beautiful, and Rybak's voice fits the song very well ... although I could have wished he'd come up with some other rhyme and not gone with the better/sweater idea in the chorus. ;-) In fact I came up with another rhyme the first time I listened to the song. But there you go. He's young. English is his third language. Some emergency rhymes are only to be expected. ;-)
Some crazy concepts I guess are to be expected too ... like the big dolphin in the sky thing (I wonder if that was written before or after the ESC finals, because there was a hell of a big dolphin in that show ... !! :-D Crazy lyrics but a good song. A couple of the other songs deal with fame and the consequences of it ... these I think are pretty good, lyrics-wise, especially Kiss And Tell, which IMO is rather an interesting song in light of Rybak's sudden rise to fame this year. What else? Unlike most pop albums, this one contains two instrumental numbers (one of them a bonus track) on which Rybak plays his fiddle very prettily. He really is a good violinist. I really like his Secret Garden cover, Song From A Secret Garden ... a beautiful melody, very beautiful in this incarnation too. Relaxing and sweet to listen to ... like most of the album, in fact.
I say 'most of', because I've got to ask, WHAT is the deal with the song called 13 Horses??! OMFG!! That song is totally soul-destroying. The first time I listened to the album all the way through I was at work doing inventory. I wasn't paying 100% attention to the lyrics, but after a while I started to think WTF am I listening to?? I almost sat down on the floor and cried. Don't get me wrong, though, I love the song. I think it's absolutely beautiful ... the melody, that is. It's probably my favorite song on the entire CD. But the lyrics ... !! WTF is with that story? How did this song come out of this very young person's head?? I can hardly bear to listen to it, it crushes my spirit. (Brief summary: it's a story about a shipwreck in mid-ocean in which the crew are saved, they have lifeboats and whatnot. But there are also some horses onboard, and the crew for whatever reason aren't able to save them. So the horses swim away from the burning wreck, expecting at any moment to be saved by their human carers ... but no help ever comes, and they just swim and swim and swim until eventually they become exhausted and sink and drown one by one. I know, right??) I am enormously impressed with this song, and I think Rybak's performance on this track is wonderful, he projects a lot of emotion and really makes the story come alive. Much too well, in fact. A very powerful but also deeply depressing song. Musically impressive, but lyrics-wise, as I said, soul-destroying. Or maybe I just have too much imagination.
All in all a good effort for a debut album ... especially since he's written most of the songs himself. Both the bonus tracks are really good, so I'd recommend that edition. I think it's pretty safe to say that Rybak is one of the ESC winners who will have a solid career after the contest too. :-) Or, as some might say, in spite of it ... ;-)
18 hours ago