Alexander Rybak became a superior winner of the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest and the single Fairytale a massive hit on the charts around Europe, but can he live up to this success with his debut album Fairytales or will he face the destiny of being a smiling one-hit-only boy?
The album kicks off with the catchy song Roll With The Wind. Despite being repeated a lot the” Ah Ih Ah Ih Ah” brings you in a good mood and as the style is quite similar to Fairytale you feel safe and comfortable right from the start. With Fairytale being the second song you do start to wonder if Alexander has more to offer than this, but this feeling probably comes because we have heard Fairytale so often lately.
The familiar style is however being broken with Dolphin, a nice little ballad, which doesn’t do anything though. It is too simple and the lyrics directly painful to listen to. Alexander wrote it himself, but my guess is that he did it 10 years ago and in that case it is quite an ok attempt. With Kiss And Tell he tries to come back to the style of Fairytale and Roll With The Wind, but he doesn’t quite manage that and you are left seriously wondering about if we’ll ever hear anything from Alexander Rybak again.
Funny Little World brings your mood up again. It is quite simple in its structure, but it is nice to listen to and is one of those songs, which makes you smile. Unfortunately the smile doesn’t last long. On a song like If You Were Gone you really start to think about skipping to next track. The solo parts from the violin save it though, but this song simply isn’t good enough. It gets even worse with the next song Abandoned. That is exactly what you want to do now: Abandon Alexander Rybak!
Track number 8 – and second to last – saves it all. 13 Horses is a beautiful ballad, where Alexander shows more potential. The music is powerful and the lyrics are great. If he has this potential then why are there so many downfalls on this album? The question remains unanswered on the last track, which doesn’t do any difference. It is instrumental and written by Rolf Løvland, who wrote Norway’s 1995 Eurovision Song Contest winner, Nocturne performed by Secret Garden. Therefore the title Song From A Secret Garden. Alexander Rybak plays the violin on this track and yes, he does do that well, but the song is anonymous and doesn’t do any anything to bring the overall score of the album up. Best thing is that it doesn’t bring it down either!
The conclusion of this album must be that Alexander Rybak still has to prove that he will be more than a one hit wonder boy. 13 horses, Roll With The Wind, Fairytale and Funny Little World are the songs to listen to on this album. With half of the songs not being good enough it is impossible to give this album more than 3 out of 5 stars. One of the stars alone is for 13 Horses. Half a star each for Roll With The Wind, Fairytale and Funny Little World and an extra half star for the really nice drawings in the booklet. Alexander do has the potential to be a name we’ll hear again and again in the future, but for his next album he needs to spend a little more time selecting good enough songs. Rather delay the album another six months than release something again, which appears half done.