Monday, October 22, 2007

I've been through hell, got up when I fell

Much as I love Sweden and watch American Idol pretty faithfully, if I had to choose which country has the best songs connected directly to Idol, I think I'd go with Norway. I'm not referring here to post-Idol output, but the songs actually on Idol itself--the winner's song and, in Norway's case, the group song its finalists do. Aleksander Denstad With's "A Little Too Perfect" was one of the first songs I posted on this blog and it's still probably my favorite Idol winner song of all time, I think. I've also shared 2005's group song, "Dreaming," and I think I'll be posting 2006's song, "This Is Life," tomorrow--it's really good (so much so that mentioning it here almost made me swap posts and share it today). Norwegian Idol winner 2004 Kjartan Salvesen's winner's single certainly fits right in with this trend of good songs. Kjartan has released two albums so far, one back in 2004 and another this year.

Standing Tall--written by Espen Lind, this song does still have the "look how far I've come" message that most Idol songs do, but it's far less treacly than anything we get from American Idol, and it's much more focused on past difficulties the singer has faced--that is, it's more, "look at me, I survived" than "look at me, I'm a winner." It's also more mid-tempo than power ballad, and its strong chorus has far more impact than, say, that of "This Is My Now" or anything like that. It probably wouldn't be very difficult at all to turn this into a rock song, but as is, it feels pop--though not "poppy"--through and through, which is a good thing--much as I think guitars can be a great thing, here I think they'd take away from the song's strength.

To buy Kjartan Salvesen's debut album, Kjartan Salvesen, go here (physical) or here (digital), though that physical link will only work until the beginning of November--another of my Norwegian music stores is closing down! Where am I supposed to buy Norwegian music from after that? CDON needs to ship internationally. Edit: oh, it looks like Zailor has their CD section back; hopefully they still ship to the U.S..

Speaking of Norway, a mini-update on some Norwegian artists:

Venke Knutson has another new single out. It's called "Walk The Walk" and, sadly, it's not doing much for me at the moment. You can watch the video on YouTube and make your mind up for yourself, though. The album "Holiday" and "Walk The Walk" come from will be called Crush and I think it's out November 5.

Jorun Stiansen, who won Idol the year after Kjartan, has a new single out. Called "Sticky Hands," the song is of the sort that seems like it's deliberately trying to be unusual. That said, I think I like it, though I don't think I love it and feel very iffy about it. You can listen to it here. Reminds me a tiny bit of Tasha Baxter's "Fade To Black" in parts, though maybe that's just because of a couple of words.

After releasing the single "Adorable" earlier this year, former a1 member Christian Ingebrigtsen has a second solo album out, The Truth About Lies. I guess "Adorable" was OK in a very cheesy pop-rock way, but I don't think it was good enough to compel me to buy the album. There are preview clips of it here. "Wonder Years" sounds OK. The album is available for purchase from most digital music stores, including iTunes stores around the world.

Next up: as mentioned, Norwegian Idol 2006's group song.


Resa said...

Ohh, I'm so glad someone appreciates Kjartan! Standing Tall's one of my favourite Idol winner songs and when he sang it during the final, he owned it.

Did you know he was approached to participate in a Rockstar series? I think it might've been for Supernova but I'll double check on that.

Also, I think "This Is Life" is a great song! The 2005 Norwegian Idol group song, "Dreaming", was such cheese but cute!

Poster Girl said...

Oh yeah, I completely agree about that performance! I almost included the video of it, because you're right--he owned it. I hadn't heard that about the TV show! Hmm, maybe I would've had more incentive to watch... Ha ha ha, yeah, "Dreaming" is complete cheese, but I really like it.

Rachel said...

I'm loving this post,you know how much I love a bit of Norwegian pop :) I heard somewhere that Kjartan's not actually very popular in Norway,I don't know why,I think he's great.I looked for his album both times I was in Oslo too but couldn't seem to find it anywhere.Then again I had a lot of trouble finding Aleksander's this year too,think I must have bought the only one left in the city!

Poster Girl said...

Ha ha, yeah, I thought of you when I was writing this! That's a shame if it's true about Kjartan. Let's hope Aleksander can get some long-lasting popularity going...