So……the Malena Ernman album, ‘La Voix Du Nord’, was released last week. And according to her twitter today, it’ll be number 1 in the Swedish charts tomorrow! Very well deserved, although not a surprise in the slightest. This album has been eagerly anticipated since she won Melodifestivalen in March and went on to represent Sweden at the Eurovision Song Contest in May, with the stunning ‘La Voix’. It’s the first time that Malena, who’s made a career out of opera music, has released a pop album. Although to soften the blow to her longtime fans, and perhaps to introduce her new fans to the real Malena – it’s a double album – one pop disk and one opera disk.
The opera side, despite not being our usual bag (although our favourite album of all time is ‘Harem’ by Sarah Brightman’), is a very pleasant listen. And certainly serves a purpose. But let’s move onto what we’re all interested in around here – the pop side!!!
That part of the album was handled by three gents who’ve more than earned their stripes in that department, Fredrik Kempe, Anders Hansson, and Alexander Bard. There’s ‘La Voix’ obviously, and even an acoustic version (that’s ”candle light version” for our younger readers!) of it. And thankfully, as you’d hope, there is a handful of songs in the same mould as ‘La Voix’ – full blown, melodramatic dance music merging with opera music merging with pop music and coming out the other end in a tizzy! If you’re going to download this album (it’s available on UK and US iTunes, as well as your usual resources for purchasing Scandinavian music) and are specifically wanting these tracks, head straight for ‘One Step From Paradise’, ‘Sempre Libera’, ‘Un Bel Di’, and the jewel in the crown – ‘Tragedy’. The rest of the pop album is made up of melodious ballads, some original, some covers, but all enjoyable. Hmm, we just can’t help but feel a bit disappointed that there weren’t more up-tempos on there. Surely the opera side of the album was meant to cater to the heavy of heart, soft of feet?! Obviously pop ballads and opera ballads are two separate sounding genres completely. But we wanted the pop album to be unabashed synths and beats with an unforgiving bpm. We’ll probably get over it, because it’s still a great album. But, you know.