Customer Review

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tremendous melancholic debut from Swedish singer-songwriter, 29 Mar. 2007
This review is from: Somebody Outside (Audio CD)
Anna Ternheim's debut album met with surprising success amongst the Swedish public when it was released in 2004 as well as laudatory reviews in mainland Europe in 2006. That it was recorded in a converted sawmill on Gotland island (with neither a label nor a record deal) is captured in its intimate atmosphere and spartan acoustics. The cover sets the tone and scene: Anna stands with bowed head, her face blotted out by the darkness, before a lake circled by trees, the skies behind her revealing the last rays of a setting sun. Her music betrays the same mixture of melancholy interlaced with fine rays of hope: whilst tracks such as "Bring down like I" and I'll follow you tonight" mourn the transitory nature of relationships ("forever lasted 90 days", she sings), and worry about feeling shallow or bored when sleeping with someone, other tracks like "My secret" counter this by celebrating following your instincts and finding love ("you just happen to be where everything feels fine"), or "I say no" and the title track, which embrace distancing yourself from false friends and becoming more autonomous. The end-note does plummet into sadness, however, with a piano-based cover version of Broder Daniel's "Shoreline".

In its sense of genuine emotional vulnerability, "Somebody Outside" is an intense counter to the soporific weltschmerz of more commercial artists like Damien Rice or Norah Jones. Ternheim has an unshowy voice, singing warmly with an attractive Swedish accent; her guitar-playing is uncomplicated and unpretentious. She is flanked by a band of musicians who never rock out into the overelaborate: even on the more poppy tracks ("Better be", "To be gone"), there is a sense of controlled simplicity. Lyrically, she has mastered the art of compressing emotion into simple expressions, too: Irritated by stifling friendships, she sings that "they need forgiveness and I need therapy they say" and to a religious acquaintance: "when my guess is right you break like glass / And I wonder where your God was then." Given that she was born in 1978, she has managed to etch out an idiosyncratic artistic voice at a pretty young age.

A limited edition of the album is available (as yet only at her concerts and in Scandinavia), which has nine naked tracks ("No way out" and "Troubled mind" are great). Catch Anna Ternheim live if you can.

Recommended!

Best tracks: "I'll follow you tonight", "I say no", "My secret", "A french love", "Shoreline".
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Initial post: 24 Mar 2013 22:58:02 GMT
The naked versions cd is available to download.
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