Friday, May 18, 2007

I never thought that I would be the one to say these words

I don't think I've ever been as tempted to post a full album as I am right now. Norwegian singer Espen Lind's This Is Pop Music is the sort of album that should be commonly accepted as a great work, and yet I know few people will probably go out and buy it; though I've had it for only a few weeks now, it's one of my favorite albums ever. After listening to some albums, my main impression is "catchy;" for others, it's "beautiful;" after listening to This Is Pop Music, my first thought was "impressive." Don't think "dully self-conscious," though, as it's not. Espen Lind is definitely smart, creative--you can't listen to this album without thinking that this is an incredibly talented artist. Maybe crazy, but talented. And with a passion for pop music.

Keep in mind my tastes unintentionally tend to be pretty top 40--top 40 in different countries, but still pretty mainstream. Imagine an album that fits perfectly into that top 40 taste made by someone who could go all leftfield if they wanted to but hasn't, instead choosing to make a brilliantly creative but still entirely accessible album designed to show how brave and exciting pop music can be--that's This Is Pop Music. As we know via the album cover, Espen has put the emphasis on "This" in the title, and so it's probably a response to another type of pop I enjoy, so-called manufactured pop. If his point is to criticize all music of that sort, I'm not sold (let's not get into that debate here), but if he wanted to show how exciting pop can be? He's done it.

Though not identical, "Everybody Says" and "Life Is Good" make a matched set. They're also of the style I expect most people associate Espen Lind with; you wouldn't be at all surprised to learn that the creator of "When Susannah Cries" wrote these ballads. In the context of the album, they're lovely, but it's such a shame that that's what Espen is known for, as, on their own, they're some of the least exciting of his songs--or rather, I wish everyone could know that the album is not all like that. Whether it's the soaring Sissel duet "Where The Lost Ones Go" (apparently going to be covered by Sarah Brightman soon); "Pop From Hell," which sounds like practically nothing I've ever heard but makes me tempted to throw out a Queen reference for some parts; the sparkly, catchy, delicious "Black Sunday," "Everything's Falling Apart," and "This Is The Time! This Is The Place!"; or the stylistic switch-ups of "Joni Mitchell On The Radio"--orchestral to creeping maybe Middle Eastern-influenced to slowed down sweeping chorus--the songs are this album are beautiful (even when aggressive) works of art that, although they might want a little admiration, also demand not just to be looked at from afar, but rather that you completely immerse yourself in them.

In other words, one song could never capture this album. Hopefully, though, it'll be enough to intrigue you.

Joni Mitchell On The Radio

I know I've probably overtalked this album beyond all reason at this point, but I really think people would enjoy it and, since it's not a frequently discussed album, I think I may have felt like I needed to fit in all that praise it should be getting in one post. You can buy it Espen Lind's second album This Is Pop Music here (physical). You can listen to preview clips on the Norwegian iTunes.

Next up: a British boy band or a Mexican group.


Paul said...

no i love overtalking albums! Look at maroon 5!! grife! I think i will rush and pur-chase this cd right now. It can keep my new danny saucedo and mr cara mia (notice how i didn't use his name so i didn't have to spell it with the special letter!) music warm and happy

Poster Girl said...

Hah--but your Maroon 5 review was good! It actually had details and everything!