Now, when I heard that Tarja Turunen was to kick-off her solo career with a Christmas album, I couldn't help but supress a giggle. Christmas albums are normally commercial suicide - especially for a former metal super star.
But it's not as bad as I expected, and I commend the lady for trying something a little different.
All of the songs are covers apart from album opener 'Kuin Henkays Ikuisuutta' (which is a good track, one of few!). Tarja's beautiful rendition of 'Ave Maria' has to be the highlight of the album, her incredible voice soars over the piano in such an evocative way. Also, her cover of John Lennon's classic 'Happy Christmas (war is over)' is worth checking out, as she shines on this track.
Your probably wondering why I gave this album 3 stars, aren't you?
I have only mentioned three tracks, and I'm afraid to say that these 3 out of 14 are the only ones worth talking about.
The rest of the album simply fails to hold my attention. I think it will remain a dust gatherer on my CD rack. Her covers of ABBA's 'Happy New Year' and Howard Blake's classic snowman theme are good, but uninspiring. And the rest of the tracks... I can't even remeber their names; they were that...boring. I find myself falling asleep after the first few songs!
Tarja has an absolutely amazing vocal range, the kind of voice which could bring tears to your eyes - providing she has the music to back it up. Her voice sounds particularly beautiful when singing in her native Finnish, but the music is tiresome.
All in all, this is good Christmas background music, but it won't hold your attention for more than a few minutes. I think that both Nightwish and Tarja lost something after her departure - but Tarja seems to have come off worse (at the moment). Only time will tell - and I hope Tarja's upcoming solo effort 'My Winter Storm' offers more for the imagination.