Review Summary: Mellow and emotive, this is the kind of pop Lene Marlin excels at.
I have gone through six introductions and they have all degraded into bouts of unrestrained admiration for Lene Marlin’s music. Her approach to mellow acoustic pop comes across in such an elegant manner and in such a unique way that it’s hard to sound objective. Lene Marlin is able to take the appealing, easily consumable nature of pop and merge it with emotionally-charged vocals and subtle, yet effective, music. It really is an accomplishment because her songs are often despondent; regularly sounding like one more disappointment could shatter the poor girl. Also, she is generally more focused on delivering an emotional experience than a strong hook, but her songs still manage to maintain that accessible quality essential to pop.
It’s hard not to fall in love with a song such as the first single, “Here We Are”, with its catchy melodies that capably meld violins and keyboards over a subtle bed of acoustic guitars. The fact is, though, that this is about as conventional as Lene Marlin gets. Much more representative are songs such as “You Could Have”, which has to be one of the most moving songs of Lene’s career. In its short duration (just under four minutes) it manages a slow build up that begins with acoustic guitars before slowly incorporating piano, keyboards and percussion. By the end of the song, all of these elements have come together in a powerful crescendo with a dominant electric guitar solo and Lene singing “You could come to get her; you could have. You could come to protect her; you should have
” before ending with a wave of subtle white noise.
In addition to the type of emotional acoustic guitar-driven songs that her fans know her for, Lene also used this album to expand her musical palette. One of the songs that may surprise longtime fans is “Have I Ever Told You” which seems to take a page from Emiliana Torrini
’s book of pop. This is an upbeat track that delivers a playfully energetic beat and a groovy bass-line accentuated by a banjo melody and brass accompaniment. It’s a nice break from the downcast nature present throughout the album and will be great in a live setting. While on the subject of the album’s disheartened temperament, Lene takes things to new levels with “Learn from Mistakes”. This gloomy song takes a minor piano melody, layers of violins, and a strange synth sound in order to convey a strong feeling of hopelessness that only subsides for the chorus.
Songs such as “Learn from Mistakes” seem to prove that a lesson was learned on Lene Marlin’s last album; don’t make her do upbeat pop. Lene’s forte is in delivering mellow, emotional songs that thrive on her delicate vocals and the sensations they create in union with the distinctively gloomy music. This album takes her strengths and builds on them while correcting past mistakes and moving forward with new ideas. The music found here easily rivals her debut in sheer gloominess, and outdoes her sophomore album in the amount of emotional content… and her third album; as one may imagine, this is better than that misstep in every way possible.