Review Summary: Not really a letdown, but no way close to the amazing "Playing My Game" debut album.
Another Day by Lene Marlin
Lene Marlin's follow-up to the hugely successful Playing My Game is another ten track story. This album was released in the fall of 2003 and the first single was "You Weren't There". The album was nowhere close to weight up to the success of Playing My Game, as it only sold for about 600 000 copies world wide. For some reason, all of Lene's albums have sold the most copies in Italy. She has over the years won several awards, such as Best Pop Solo Artist, Best Single ("Sitting Down Here"), Best Newcomer and the Artist Of The Year in the Norwegian Grammy Awards. She has also won an MTV Europe award by the name of Best Nordic Act in 1999.
That was the background. Let me say some things about this album in general before I get started with the real review. This album is less darker musically then Playing My Game but don't worry, the easy accessible lyrics are still there. To me, this album is much more emotional, her lyrics skill have really improved since 1999 and the music have got much more tempo and energy.
The opening track, Another Day is a rather upbeat tale. Emotional, but still a little catchy at the chorus. The song is never even near touching "Sitting Down Here" though, one of her most well known tunes. The song has also been released as a single. "Another Day" is followed by a piano interlude and after a while drums and Lene singing the first lines of the next song, "Faces". The drums stand out on this track, on her last record, they were very much just background sounds but here it's actually a strong drum beating. Lene's voice is also backed up by a twitchy acoustic guitar in the verses and occasionally the piano. The chorus is a little more upbeat and is backed up by an electric guitar. In comparison to her last album, this first real ballad still got some tempo without losing the emotional feeling, which is a good thing.
The next song is the first single, "You Weren"t There" which opens up quite nicely, with light drumming and some neat guitar riffs. Lene comes in soon after and accompanies the instruments with her beautiful voice. The verses have almost the same tempo as the previous song, "Faces" but the chorus is much more alive. You can hear the drums well, the singing is strong and the lyrics are good. A perfect first single.
"From This Day" is a slow ballad and is one of the weaker moments on this record. The lyrics are good, at least in the verses and if the chorus hadn't featured lots of humming before the real chorus it would have been a very good tune. It's mostly a boring song and I sometimes skip it. Luckily, the song is followed by an upbeat single, "Sorry". The verse is driven by some heavy drumming and some awesome bass lines. The lyrics are great too.
The song that follows, "My Love" is my least favourite on this album, an all acoustic song with just guitar and Lene's voice. It could be a great arrangement which usually would suit Lene perfect, but this song just doesn't work for me. The lyrics doesn't work with her voice and sounds way to cliché for me, therefore I've never liked this song. "Whatever It Takes" really is Lene at her absolute best. Wonderful emotional lyrics sung to the background sounds of some upbeat drumming and some acoustic guitar chords. Her singing here is absolutely splendid, both in the verse and at the chorus. The song also features a really great interlude. One of my all time favourites of Lene Marlin songs.
The next song is a really dark and sad one, just as the name "Fight Against The Hours" suggests. Lene's voice is just backed up by drums and bass through most of this song and while the lyrics might be good on the verse, it still feels a little empty musically. At the chorus her voice changes and leaves the whispering of the verses, becoming strong and drives the song a great step forward. This is without a doubt the saddest song on this record. The dark tone is followed by a catchy and quite happy "feel good"-song, "Disguise". This is another of my favourites, due to the amazing lyrics and the happy feeling the music conjures. The first real song that reminds me of "Sitting Down Here". Listen closely to the bridge part, 'cause that is the most beautiful part of the whole album.
The last song is called "Story" and has been released as a single I think. It starts off rather sudden with piano and Lene humming along. Drums and bass backup for the rather slow beginning of the verse but in the middle the verse makes a small turn and it sounds like it's going to be more upbeat, but sadly it turns back into the slow progressing singing by Lene. I'm actually having really hard figuring out the form this song is written in, 'cause I still don't understand which part is the chorus because it all sounds the same. Together with "My Love" this song is one of few skippers.
Although this album is not as good as Playing My Game it surely has it's moments, it shows a more musically varying Lene Marlin. Not all songs here are dark, slow and mellow, while some still are. It's a good mixture between upbeat pop and ballads. Another Day doesn't contain any REALLY strong songs as Playing My Game but as a whole it works very well.
This album is recommended to you...
...that thought Playing My Game was way too slow.
...that likes pop but not boy bands.
...that wanna hear a great singer and songwriter.
This album is NOT recommended to you...
...that wants something revolutionary for the genre.
...that wants very deep lyrics.
...that believes all of her songs should sound like "Sitting Down Here".