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Sunday, 25 November 2012 15:00

Sweden: 'Heal' by Loreen - A Review

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The dawn of a brand new year is not too far away and one of the key projects which we intend to relaunch as we brace ourselves for the upcoming edition of the Eurovision Song Contest which will surely be preceded by an intriguing season is a set of album reviews as released by artists who have already been to the Eurovision Song Contest and have continuously achieved success on home turf and surrounding countries. For this feature, we have secured the professional writing skills of singer/songwriter Jean Claude Vancell who is quite busy at the moment preparing for a number of events in the industry. Nevertheless, you will be seeing more of these articles as the weeks go by and as a matter of fact, what better way to kick off than with the collection entitled Heal which is of course, the debut album released by Loreen, this years' winner of the Eurovision Song Contest.

Artist: Loreen

Forget the flashy costumes, the over-the-top hair dos and the army of dancers. Loreen is here. As she has proven during this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, the singer does not need anything else but her own voice and a good song to take over Europe. Loreen is a 29-year-old Swedish pop singer and music producer. She started off her musical career by appearing on Swedish Idol in 2004 and placing 4th. She resurfaced in 2011 when she took part in the Swedish selection for Eurovision with My Heart is Refusing Me (a track now part of the album).

She failed to make it through the final, but returned next year with her track Euphoria, with which she won the Melodifestivalen and later the Eurovision Song Contest in Azerbaijan. She spoke out against the violation of human rights when in Azerbaijan with local political activists saying "Human rights are violated in Azerbaijan every day. One should not be silent about such things." Loreen was the winner of the Best Swedish Act at the MTV European Music Awards 2012. She was also nominated for Best European Act which she lost to Dima Bilan (The winner of the 2008 Eurovision Song Contest).

Album Title: Heal

Released: 22nd October (Europe)

Heal is published by Warner Music, Sweden, and is Loreen’s debut album. Recorded over two years (between 2010 and 2012), it showcases Loreen as an up and coming artist in the European charts after her victory for Sweden at the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest. It was released as already mentioned above on the 22 October. The recurring theme throughout the album is breaking-up and finding strength in oneself. The production of the album has a heavy dance feel to it, which is currently very popular in Europe. The tracks have very intricate beats and harsh synths.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jmzs5r1flBA

The presence of an orchestra in some of the tracks in the album enhances and softens the song production in songs such as Euphoria and Sober. Loreen had a significant role as a songwriter in the album, penning tracks such as In My Head, My Heart is Refusing Me and Sober. The album has performed well in the charts reaching the top twenty in six countries and peaking at number 1 in her home country, Sweden, where it has also been certified platinum. It has been released in Sweden, Ireland, Germany, Belgium, The Netherlands, United Kingdom, Canada, Mexico, France and Japan.

Tracks to look out for:

In my head – An amazing opening to the album. I especially love the piano solo in the track. Loreen shows a subtler vocal dynamic than in the rest of the album. I liked the gentler tone of her voice on this one.

My heart is refusing me – Loreen has participated in Melodifestivalen in 2011 with this track, which has now been reworked for the album. I really like the new remix. I am amazed how this did not do well in the competition. A real bass-thumper with a great melody line.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pfo-8z86x80

Euphoria – We've heard it endless times before. On the album the track is introduced with a beautiful arrangement for strings which contrasts well with the strong sounds in the record. Her vocal rendition is impeccable, even though I do have to admit that I enjoy her live interpretation so much more.

Crying out your name – This, in my opinion, is the stronghold of this album. Lyrically it strikes a chord with me. Overall it is a very well written song. The production is nothing short of amazing with a beat reminiscent of dub-step in the beginning.

Final Verdict:

I never expected myself to enjoy this album so much. I do not usually enjoy listening to Euro-dance but Loreen has found the right balance between pop and dance in her record. This will definitely not be leaving my iTunes playlist for a very long time. If Loreen works hard enough to promote this, we’ll keep hearing of her well into the future, something which can’t be said about all winners of Eurovision.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BPt21Lq-hbY

Last modified on Friday, 30 November 2012 12:42