Blonde valkyrie Christine Guldbrandsen enchanted many a fan throughout Europe following her stellar performance of Alvedansen at the Eurovision Song Contest in Athens, 2006, bringing Norway a 14th place. She chooses to break her 4 year silence with her newest album, Colors.
Christine has, ever since her debut, been touted as the silver tonsiled successor to perhaps Norway’s greatest artist, Sissel Kyrkjebø. With her crystal clear voice she has managed to build a considerable following back home, yet overseas success has somehow managed to elude her. During her career, she has released 4 albums: Surfing In The Air (2003), Moments (2004), Christine (2007) and now Colors. So, has the young songstress anything new to offer since her last outing? Eurovisionary has listened to her latest album, and here’s the verdict.
The album opener Break My Chains has many similarities with Alvedansen – a song interjected with many ah-ahs, delicate, layered vocals and intensity. The difference being that this first track, although not as immediate as Alvedansen is actually a stronger track, musically speaking, showcasing Christine’s voice excellently. Not exactly a stomper (but then again, that’s not her style), Break My Chains falls firmly into the easy listening genre.
Next up is Ladyshy, where Christine ventures into new territory, offering the listener a song with a hint of tango about it. Her vocals here sound altogether more sultry, breathy even. An intricate melody, Ladyshy is a great album track, keeping the listener interested throughout with its playful overtones.
Title track Colors continues the trend, with plucked strings accompanying oboe and cello for dramatic effect. Another track quite contrasting in sound to the previous two songs, the tune is a tad more accessible and a most relaxing and mellow addition to the album as Christine croons about the colours that she loves.
On Sun & Moon, although similar in style to Ladyshy, the versatile singer gives us a song which pairs piano with waltz and making for an almost jazzy sound. Faultless vocals, yet again however, can’t prevent this from being one of the album’s weaker tracks.
With The Guy Up There, Christine continues on her quest to show us how she has evolved since her previous album. Here we’re treated to a subtle tune which intrigues you and makes you want to sit up and listen. A jollier, more uptempo number than most of the others on the album.
Memories is a much more sombre sounding affair, dripping with melancholy and almost a musical feel about it. With a much more naked, sparser sound her voice comes much more to the fore on this tender ballad. The snare drum gives a beautiful rhythm where you can almost feel the sadness with the trumpet complemeting the general tone perfectly. One of the highlights of the album.
The Islands is the album’s 7th track, with perhaps the most cliché filled text. The verses are quirky but soon fall into an under par chorus. Again, Christine more than proves her vocal talents, but that is not enough to make this more than just an average album filler.
Elves’ Dance is bound to be of interest for all Eurovision fans, being both in english and a remix of her 2006 Eurovision entry Alvedansen. This updated version sounds more haunting, more tribal and more captivating than the original thus justifying its inclusion on her newest offering.
The penultimate track Standing On The Moon is by far one of the strongest on the album. It starts off quite gloomily but soon progresses into a powerful chorus. Pensive lyrics filled with a sense of longing make this deliciously indulgent with Christine’s soaring vocals.
Lullaby brings the album to a close, and it is sleep inducing in a pleasant way. The song gives a soft, soothing sound, leaving you enveloped in a warm, fuzzy feeling and you could say that Christine has saved the best for last, this being one of the stronger efforts on Colors.
On the whole, a most pleasing musical outing from Ms Guldbrandsen, showing us that she has evolved considerably musically since her last album. No one can accuse her of taking the easy way out, offering up instantaneous versions of musical fast food – Colors firmly belongs in the gourmet section and should be a welcome addition to any music collection.