9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 21 November 2004
Stina has unquestionably released her best album since "And she closed her eyes". The subtle shadings of strings and voices are back, along with her exquisite vocals and the most unexpected diversions and tangents from the main theme of her songs. The album is of course lyrically dark right from the opening line, and constantly contrasts sensual extremes, the most obvious being the cold that permeates most of her lyrics on the album, against the warmth and hope that the world just might be saved. Additionally, it is great to see that Stina produced this gem herself. I hope that there is more to come.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 12 October 2009
Stina Nordenstam's commercial strategy won't win her many new fans : having given only a handfull of interviews over the years and never toured except one show 14 years ago in London , the Scandinavian singer - songwritter seems to be all about creating the art but not really giving that much energy to promote it out there . At least , a rather pretty site made it's appearance on the net recently . Still , this Kate Bush-like resclusiveness bounds harmonically with the fragile , mysterious nature of her music .Nordenstam made her first appearance in the music scene in 1992 with the jazzy , eerie Memories Of A Colour , then shortly after that she released And She Closed Her Eyes , a track of which ( the tender " Little Star " ) was included in the Romeo & Juliet soundtrack , introducing the artist to a wider audience . Three , significally more downbeat and melancholic albums followed .
For her latest offering , the first to be released in the states since 1994 , Nordenstam once more combines serenity with darkness . There are two important qualities of hers that set her apart from most of the other "sad" girls in the music business today : first of all , it's her distinctive voice , a toxic purr of some sort which sounds so at home with the vulnerable ( " So This Is Goodbye ? " ) and hypnotic ( " So Lee " ) texture of her compositions . Then the lyrics are simply excellent ,witty and specific , as it often happens with scandinavian artists who despite singing in their second language , they dress their melodies with amazing words . " From Cayman With Love " finds a bitter lover realizing that exotic holidays are not the answer to loneliness ( " Thr Carribean sun / so leaves me cold / you never do / i want to see you / even want to see you bleed / i can't believe i paid for this / there's nothing here i need " ) . It's the naive , i-realize-it-now-that-i-sing-it vocal delivery of Nordenstam that makes the whole thing such a treat really .
Musically trumpets and flutes along with trip hop touches colour her moody , seductive melodies .From the sparse , naked " Parliament Squeare " ( in which " It maybe silent / but i hear bombs fall " ) from the spooky pop pantomima of "Butterfly " , everything here is eccentric , original and clearly coming straight from the lady's private little universe . Not a small achievement indeed ...
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Sweden has apparently provided its own answer to Hope Sandoval or Beth Gibbons: Stina Nordenstam. Her breathy voice and airy downtempo music initially sound a bit like those artists, but the spacey edges of her album makes it sound a lot more distant.
It opens with a piano being played in a quick, slightly ominous manner, and quickly gets joined by some jazzy percussion and subtle synth. Nordenstam wastes no time in singing deadpan: "And I tried to get up and I tried to move it/this thing won't let me/it's heavy as a man's body..."
A twangier note enters with "Winter Killing," but the album quickly dips back into sultry downtempo. Nordenstam quietly veers from ghostly jazz to airy classical pop to dark trip-hop, never staying too long on one particular kind of music. Listening to these songs is a bit like listening to a multitalented ghost in an abandoned cabaret.
With her sweet high voice and hard-to-classify pop, Stina Nordenstam actually resembles Icelandic singer Emiliana Torrini. But where Torrini is warm and more organic, Nordenstam sounds a lot chillier and more ethereal. Her delicate pop is exquisitely pretty, but it takes a little while to fully get into.
Nordenstam is known for her pretty voice. It's sweet, high and sort of childish. She also sounds, in this particular recording, distant and a little mechanical, which adds to the chilly, ethereal edge. The only problem is "125," where Nordenstam's pretty voice sounds, uh, nasal. At the beginning, anyway -- by the time the keyboard kicks in, she has it under control.
The music is as unusual and eerie as her voice: We've got disjointed guitar rhythms, buttery keyboard melodies and jazzy percussion, much like other trip-hop artists. But Nordenstam gives them an extra edge, with swooning violins and clattery sound effects showing up in songs like "I'm Staring Out The World" and the creepily dark "This Morning Belongs to the Night."
Stina Nordenstam creates a chilly, eerie kind of trip-hop in "The World is Saved" -- and it works wonderfully. Despite some turnoffs (whose idea was that guitar intro to "Winter Killing"), the result is wintry beauty.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 25 October 2004
Is this the Stina album you've been waiting for?
"And She Closed Her Eyes" is always going to be the reference point ; pigeon hole it if you can . So what's going to make you pick this up , several releases later? "The World is Saved" makes sense of what came in between . It's not revision , it is renaissance and as such is very likely to charm anyone who has ever been beguiled by Nordenstam's twilight aura .
As private as a varnished cloud ,this is the Stina album I have been waiting for .
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 19 November 2005
Don't listen to the lukewarm reviewers. I love this album and it is probably my favourite Stina effort, And She Closed Her Eyes included.
This may certainly not be as "cutting edge" a work as some of her stuff (and I'm surprised at some of the praise I've read for "This is", which, sadly, I thought was pretty rubbish) but for me it was indeed a "summit" - on Saved she synthesises the very best of her experimentations with sound and arrangement with brilliant tunes and some of her best lyrics.
I'm no Stina anorak but I know what I like, and this is it.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 16 November 2004
"The World Is Saved" might not win over any new fans for Stina but it should please those already in love with her music.
Initially disappointing,"TWIS" is a definate grower,so much so that by the sixth play,i'd come to recognise this new set of songs as apart of another classic album from Stina.It might not quite have reached the heights of "And She Closed Her Eyes" and "This is Stina Nordenstam",but its not far off in terms of quality.
Stand out tracks include "On Falling","Parliament Square","From Cayman Islands With Love" and "The World Is Saved" but really,so strong are these songs,that there isn't a weak or uninteresting song to be found.
The keyboards,strings,brass and,in particular,the backing vocals all dominate this new album to great effect.
The music might be downbeat and eerie,but the songs all have killer chorus's with melodies that even tone-deaf milkmen can whistle!
"The World Is Saved" has to be in the top 10 list of the best new albums of 2004.
Don't miss out,buy it now,but remember,do give it time and let it grow on you as it surely will.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 23 October 2011
Brilliant c.d. Beautifully delicate yet powerful with haunting melodies and spaced out lyrics. This was released in 2004 and there have been no releases from her since. A comeback would be most welcome.
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 8 November 2004
By Stina's standards, this isn't a very inspired work. The release of this album was delayed by a year, and the content reflects the lack of urgency from anyone to release it upon the world. Lyrically, Stina is on her best form here, but for the most part, musically she is going through the motions. Exceptions to this are the stringladen trio of pieces, I'm Staring Out The World, The Morning Belongs To The Night and The World Is Saved, and the esoteric piece, Butterfly, where she wakes to find herself an ugly and ungainly butterfly. The hushed, disturbing close of the piece is a special moment. The rest of the album, with the exception of 125, is all too familiar and predictable. Parliament Square almost becomes the piece it should have been, but just fails. On Falling has the same chorus melody as Sharon And Hope, only it's a pale imitation this time round (it even chucks in a bit of the faux-jazz from the first album, which feels like it's wandered in to the wrong song). The fact that the string parts are the most original element of the album, underlines her artistic stagnancy (they weren't actually written by her). The emotional directness of the lyrics is a plus point, but their power is diffused through the stylised arrangements. Reading the lyric booklet before I listened to the music, I anticipated a great work, but alot of the music is just too uninspired. Stina has sadly been in artistic decline since the summit of the Dynamite album, one of the most powerful albums ever made. Its successor, People Are Strange, a collection of reinventions of other people's songs, seemed like a bit of a letdown at the time, but it now seems like her final work of artistic potency. The previous album, This Is Stina Nordenstam, was a pleasing collection of pop songs that didn't outstay its welcome and had just enough inventive touches to keep fans happy, but this latest album is arguably her weakest effort ever. It's a depressing thing to say, but it's probably true. There are moments here that the die-hard fan can hold on to, certainly. If it was a lesser artist, it could be described as a pretty good album. But in the mid nineties, Stina was at the cutting edge of modern music. She isn't anymore, and this album only confirms the fact. One can only hope that she finds some of her previous inspiration, and proves me wrong. Those looking for something more potent and cutting edge should purchase 'List of Lights And Buoys' by Susanna and the Magical Orchestra. For those who have stuck with Stina this far, you should own the new album out of loyalty, but not out of musical enthusiasm. Listening to the album depresses me for all the wrong reasons, whereas listening to Dynamite depressed me for all the right reasons.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 27 October 2004
comparisons are invidious but imagine a mix of Lisa Germano and Bjork, or a female David Sylvian -- Sweden's Nordenstam is one of alternative pop's hidden treasures, quiet, intelligent, uncompromising.
After a decade willfully out of step with the times, this album is the closest she's come to the indie-(post) rock norm, a fragmented blend of strings, electric guitar and electronics, and her inimitably wistful voice.
Not pushing the envelope as far as on her 1990s' releases, but still an original.
0 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 4 December 2006
This is probably the most disappointing,uneven album i've listened to, after a friend recommended it to me with grate praisal i gave it a go and didn't really think much of it considering she has been singing since 1991 you would of thought she had perfected her craft by now. I cannot downtred her too much there was some good moments like the opener "Get On With Your Life" which is reminiscent of Emiliana Torrini i loved the swooping beat, yet keeping it on a low key level and i really enjoyed " The Morning Belongs To The Night" which reminded me of a musical it doesn't really pick up the pace nor seem to go anywhere but i liked the introvertive feel to it which its fluttering beat and clanging of the bell-like instruments almost puts into mind of being in a glacial cave.
The downpoints are truly that "Winter Calling" is horrible and " From Cayman Islands With Love" is like some lacklustre industrial caberet song which i thought i was going to enjoy but listening to it more it sounded like a poor Bond song.The title track wasn't too bad not the best though again reminded me of Ms Torrini.
Top 3 (wasn't 5 songs i liked)
1.Get On With Your Life
2.The World Is Saved
3.The Morning Belongs To The Night
I will give her previous efforts a listen 'coz i like her voice and the stuff i did like was satisfying enough for me to venture her more.