Review Summary: Anssi Kela returns with quite possibly his strongest album to date!
When Anssi Kela released his self-titled fifth studio album in early 2013, it had been four years since his previous studio-outing "Aukio". When comparing the two records, one can see how much can change in four years. Wheres "Aukio" was a concept album, much in the vain of Bruce Springsteen
and Neil Young
, "Anssi Kela" is an ode to 80's pop, such as Duran Duran
and Michael Jackson
. While this shift in musical style may be hard for older fans to stomach, "Anssi Kela" is phenomenal tribute to everything 80's!
While being quintessentially based in the 80's, the album does cover a lot of ground. From the disco-feel of "Miten sydämmet toimii?" to the funky grooves of "Superkuu", there is no doubt that "Anssi Kela" has a lot to offer. Probably the most musically interesting songs are the aforementioned "Superkuu", the odd-but-somehow-it-works "Levoton tyttö", the melancholy "Levyhylly pelastaa", and the soulful "Palava silta". Other highlights include potential singles "Kevät tulee", "Ilman sua", and "Parasta aikaa", which brings back memories of "Born in the USA" -era Springsteen. The other tracks do have their moments, but never quite reach the same replay-value as the aforementioned songs.
While Kela is a very accomplished musician, his strength has always been in the lyrical department. From the nostalgic and heartfelt "Nummela", to the ultimate '*** love ballad' "Rakkaus on murhaa", Kela has definitely covered a lot of different subject matters in his lyrics. He continues to impress with his skills on such tracks as "Levoton tyttö", "Palava silta", and "Parasta aikaa", which hits particularly close to home with this reviewer.
At the end of the day, "Anssi Kela" is a phenomenal album. The 80's-influence, experimental instrumentation, and continued lyrical quality make the album a thoroughly enjoyable ride from beginning to end. While the heavy use of keyboards and drum machines can make the album feel a bit synthetic, they don't make the experience any less enjoyable.