So…..Ms Hera Bjork then! She first commanded our attention last year when she gave the world the stupendous ‘Someday’ – a song which sounds like Disney doing schlager music! Pure unadulterated arms-aloft bliss. Listening to it makes you want to mime along in a theatrical fashion, and it’s impossible not to positively beam with happiness afterwards. She followed it up with the more dance orientated ‘My Heart’, although it still had its schlager melodies intact. It’s another corker, and we were glad to see that ‘Someday’ wasn’t just a fluke, and that Hera was hopefully in this for the long run!
This year however, she’s really become a special something. With ‘Je Ne Sais Quoi’, her entry for Iceland in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, she’s been elevated into our schlager super league of artists to get very excited about. So it was with some hope that we approached our first listen to her new album, also called ‘Je Ne Sais Quoi’. Would there be many more pop gems on there? Or would it be a cobbled together rush release, to cash in on Eurovision?
Thankfully (not that we were ever in doubt anyway!) it delivered the goods! It’s a fast paced, upbeat, up-tempo record. Of the ten album tracks, only one of them is a ballad, and then there are the three bonus tracks, different versions of the song ‘Je Ne Sais Quois’ (French, Karaoke, and Candle Light). Our favourite song on there is a beauty called ‘Because You Can’. It starts off as an atmospheric, operatic number (yes – Hera goes all Malena Ernman on us!). Then of course comes the dance beat, and the heartachingly inspirational chorus – both lyrically and melodically. For the middle eight, things slow down again and the operatics come back. Then, just as you think the last chorus is about to start, a club beat commences, and Hera REALLY lets rip on the opera wailing! Brilliant!
‘Falling Again’ is another highlight. Hera goes into full on club diva mode here. ‘Love Trap’ is the poppiest, fluffiest track on the album, and is so much fun with it. It’s a disco pop number that also would have gone down really well at Eurovision this year. Also, last year’s single ‘My Heart’ is given a new remix for 2010.
We really liked the album as a whole, but strangely, it doesn’t really get going until almost halfway through (a bit like the recent Linda Sundblad album!), track 1 excluded of course. ‘Natural High’ and ‘Waiting For The Night’s, whilst enjoyable, are just a bit underwhelming in comparison to the rest of the tracks on here. And her cover of ‘Knock On Wood’ isn’t as good as it could have been. But yes, once the album gets going, it really gets going. Thank you Hera Bjork!