Review Summary: It shines, but perhaps not bright enough.
How different would life have been for Anette Olzon if she never joined Nightwish in the first place? You have to ask yourself this before listening to her very first solo album, the appropriately titled Shine
. It doesn't feel like eighteen months have passed since Olzon parted ways with her former band, and nobody would blame you for clinging on to every hope that the two would be reunited someday. That said, none of this really matters, since Shine
portrays Anette Olzon as a new and (perhaps) improved independent artist.
will only ever appeal to a select group of fans. The sort of fans who have been following every year of Olzon's musical career since day one. There are a lot of reasons for this. One is how varied Olzon's vocal range seems to be here. On songs such as the lilting opener “Like a show inside my Head” and almost grandiose “Invincible”, her voice soars to operatic heights amid a musical background of poppy and symphonic melodies, though instrumentation for the most part seems to be the least prominent aspect of the sound in general. However, the album surprisingly fails when Olzon attempts a poppier vocal melody to harmonize with the equally as poppy music, and with songs as blandly uninspired as “Hear me”, the album suffers in a way which leaves listeners wanting so much more.
That's really another reason why Shine
isn't as good as it could have been. The instrumentation by itself is for the most part weak, and Olzon's vocal delivery doesn't always deviate your attention from anything else happening in the same song. Sure, you could argue that because of being a solo album, Shine
doesn't necessarily need to have perfect musicianship, but songs such as “Floating” and “Falling” are ruined slightly by an inadequate amount of instrumental effort, hampered more by the fact that Olzon sounds slightly bored with herself. There are songs which are great both instrumentally and vocally, such as the eccentric album highlight “Lies”, a song which almost veers towards a metallic sound and largely eschews the pop melodies elsewhere on Shine
, and the uplifting musical tones of "Invincible" are well incorporated into the album's general flow.
The only other thing which the album sometimes suffers from is how there seems to be a lack of energy on certain songs, as well as a very anti-climactic outro. Songs such as “Floating” and “One million Faces” are empty shells, and both leave the listener wanting so much more as a result. It could be the shorter length which makes songs likes these more boring than they were originally intended, but there just doesn't seem to be any form of emotional power intact, at least like there was in the title track or “Lies”. Songs such as "Hear Me" and its monotonous successor "Falling" move very little from the starting point, and you're left wondering why those songs weren't in fact axed from the album in its final stages.
Anette Olzon certainly has an ambitious future ahead of her, and more than a handful of solo artists have had faulty first albums. Shine
is in no way terrible, but it is very hard to get into, especially if you're expecting music on the more grandiose side of the metal spectrum, like with Nightwish. Fans of Olzon's work before even joining Nightwish will undoubtedly love this to pieces, but for anyone else it seems unlikely that Shine
will be anything more than half-decent. If she can build on this momentum, the next album in Anette Olzon's solo career should be somewhat promising.