on 22 April 2002
I have a knack for buying cds by artist Ive never heard of, which sometimes pays off and occasionally doesnt. This time however, I really struck gold, and it more than compensates for the odd turkey I get!
The music is etherial in its simplicity, the songs themselves are strangely powerful despite avoiding big noise and vocal acrobatics favoured by some artists, instead opting for understated melodies and goose-pimpling orchestrals. And that voice! Totally original. Its almost dare I say fairy-like; its as if she breathes the lyrics softly into your ears. Really rather spine-tingling! And I can sincerely say, she's a one off.
There are no fillers - each song deserving its place, which other more established artists still havent accomplished. The tracks range from jaunty little toe-tappers (the opener "When Debbies back from Texas") to all out mouth-drying, eye-wetting otherworldly stunners like "Murder in Maryland park", to happy little love songs - "hopefully yours" and "little star" being my particular favourites.
You could do a lot worse than give this perfect album a go, unless your not keen on originality and unique foreigners! (put it this way - if you like Bjork, you'll probably like this!)
on 31 August 2000
This is the second Stina Nordnestam album I have heard. The first was the hard-to-get-hold-of "memories of a color", which was released way back in 1991. Even this album ("and she closed her eyes") is quite old now (1993)....
This artist has a unique voice and this is her second greatest strength. Her voice is brittle and some would say she ressembles Bjork (I don't). I think she has a skill at holding your attention with her sound alone. Her lyrics are poetic and quite difficult to understand at times - but they grow on you, until you understand what is going on in each song. I think she must have had some sad experiences in her life, which she is putting into this music as a sort of catharthis.
But it is her melodic and harmonic skills which I rate highest: there is not a single chord out of place, and this is true for both albums. If the first album was skilful, the second is the work of a Master. I have studied music myself, and I know how hard it is to be original and at the same time make musical sense.
If I have one criticism, it is that there is not enough variation between the pace and mood as the album unfolds. However Stina has obviously found a groove that she knows she is good at, and long may she carry on doing so. It is a pity she hasn't brought out more work over the years. Perhaps reviews haven't been as glowing as mine?
Buy this album - and try and get hold of its predecessor also (..got this for me, but it took a while). You won't be disappointed.
on 22 January 2001
This album is Stina Nordenstam's masterpiece. It is a compelling collection of angelic harmonies, thought provoking plaintive songs and delicate vocals.
An incredibly consistent album it is difficult to single out highlights but I was particularly touched by the sadness of "Crime", "Little Star" and "Murder in Mairyland Park" - you are drawn into the songs by their subtelty with Nordenstam's underplayed affected vocals perfectly laid upon the simple melodic arrangements...Jason Cox
on 9 September 2006
Im not one to write reviews but i think that this album is probably my all time favourite (and i buy a lot of cd's). I first heard the track "little star" on mtv back in 94, and managed to get the album on tape (since bought it on cd). I always seem to end up back at this cd, its quite reflective music, Stina sounds a little like Bjork (only a little) in the sense that her voice is falsetto and almost child like, there seems to be more fragility in Stina's voice though which adds a quiet intensity to the sound. I dont think that there is a weak track on this cd and my favourite track seems to be always changing, the music is still as fresh today as when it was made but i guess that is always the case with classic songs. I think that fans of more cinematic music such as Ulrich Schnauss or Sigur Ros would enjoy this as it contains similar cinematic qualities, every single note seems to count. I own Stina's other work but this is by far her best stuff. If your looking for a cd to escape into and block out the hustle of the world, then your search ends here. Enjoy.
on 27 May 2008
I first heard about Stina from mtv in the nieties when LittleStar came out as a single and fell in love with how delicate and unique her voice is, this album is for me a truly beatiful experience, an album that just gets better and better over time.
An album of sheer magic and feels very seaside, sounds of the tide and seagulls, beautiful dreamy melodies, and for me this is the album I love to listen to on my own at night and have a nice glass of wine and totally relax and forget about the madness that is the world. It sounds like heaven coming through your speakers, please make sure you listen through good quality hifi and not a cheap system and it will definately pay off, the production is wonderful.
I always turn to this and her first album, and found this style to suit her the best, I also liked the track she did with Vangelis. I wasnt overkeen on Dynamite I prefer her vocal on a dreamy chillout melody, and just couldnt get along with such harshness, so this album for me was always Stina at her best, I need to check out her newer stuff though and hope there is more of the magic found here.
If you have not heard her voice before I suppose you will either adore it or hate it, but oh,what music! Truly Exceptional
One album I would definately take on holiday or a desert island disc I absolutely adore her vocal uniqueness, so beautiful and tender, buy it and I promise you will not find better nightime escapism.
on 3 February 2003
Admittedly, i'd never heard of stina nordenstam before i spotted this browsing on amazon. Don't let that put you off. On my first listen, this CD turned a dull, mind-numbing tube ride home into a wonderful, almost etherial journey (and thats saying something about the piccadilly line!).
Every track is of merit, though my personal faves are 'little star' and 'something nice'. As for the style, then i'd probably describe it as a weird cross between emilliana torrini and cheryl crow, but that's hardly doing it justice. The melodies are touching, thought-provoking and woven with a genuine innocence. I've since listened to another of her albums, dynamite, but i think this is better.
Worthy of a place in your collection.
on 14 December 2004
Interesting to read other reviews, and see their choice of favourites from this album. For me it's 'Murder in Maryland Park' - a desert island disc! Listen to the words, to the mood change, to the backing. But plenty of other top-notch stuff here too - When Debbie's back from Texas, Viewed from the spire &c. Most tracks are worth the purchase price by themselves - if you like mysterious, whimsical, disconnected, Northern....
on 5 January 2009
Well, it's only taken me 14 years to discover this album! I stumbled upon Stina Nordenstam on Youtube one day, and as soon as I heard her voice, I knew I had to try one of her CDs. And I'm so glad I did! And She Closed Her Eyes is a near perfect assault on the senses, and every track on the CD transported me to a very relaxed state of mind - the sort of music to listen to whilst staring out of a train speeding through the countryside.
If you're in need of some calm in this crazy fast paced world, get this. I promise it will improve the quality of your life! :)
on 27 October 2005
Wonderfull, sweet, intimate, ambionic. Good melodies, the songs are well chained together. You might need to get to now her voice a little first, but it becomes really nice to listen to. The songs are a bit pop, folk, spiced a little with jazz here and there and have an ambient layer to them. Really nice.
Until Emiliana Torrini finally comes out with another album, one of the artists I will have to listen to is Stina Nordenstam.
And the Swedish singer's second album is a beautiful, delicate wisp that has aged incredibly well. "And She Closed Her Eyes" is filled with her fragile voice and hesitant trip-hop, as well as the wistful sounds of bittersweet breakups and endangered love.
"It takes you no time/You just follow the bridge/Indian summer evening/Let the shadows backslide" Nordenstam sings wistfully over cycling guitars, describing the feelings of one-third of a love triangle. "I'm a true believer/And no lover of starshine/I know where this is leading/This is my last chance..."
It continues with the ethereal, saxophone-edged "Viewed From the Spire," all about love that ends with death. And the album trickles into a series of similar songs -- catchy folkpop, ethereal little trippy ballads, the shimmering jazz-edged "Little Star," haunting ambient folk laced with sea-sounds, uneasy trip-hop. It ends with the heartbreaking title track -- and when the guitars end, there's only the sound of rain.
Most albums about broken hearts and broken love affairs are pretty angry -- the artists use them for catharsis when someone done them wrong. But "And She Closed Her Eyes" is a different kind of breakup album -- this is about the bittersweet pessimism of breaking up, the love that died, or the painful little heartache when you see your love with someone else. Trust me, I know.
That bittersweetness is printed all over these songs. Sure, a couple are about love-related deaths, but most are about goodbyes. And her delicate, simple lyrics sum up the feelings of goodbyes ("whatever made me glow, it's gone now/But I pretend I'm having it still") or the sorrow of what hasn't been said at all ("Little star/So you had to go/You must have wanted him to know... Poor little thing...").
And their beautiful fragility is only enhanced by Nordenstam's voice -- she has a sort of childlike, slightly creaky voice, though she does a gorgeous Latin chorus in "Little Star". And her music is a mix of gentle folk and dream-pop, with some soft synth woven in there -- the only jarring note is the saxophone, which sounds like something from a soap-opera commercial.
Regrets, lost love and love that has run its course -- that is "And She Closed Her Eyes," an exquisite little collection of trip-folk gems. But if you've lost at love recently, keep tissues near.